New York Blackmail Crimes: FAQ II

What is Blackmail Under New York law?

Blackmail under New York law involves threats to obtain property from another person usually, but not necessarily, money. You can be charged with Blackmail in the form of larceny by Extortion if you obtain property by compelling or inducing someone else to deliver property to you through instilling a fear in that person that you will physically injure someone, damage property, expose a secret, or commit other acts listed under the statute. Blackmail, aka, Extortion, is distinct crime from Coercion in that the latter occurs in the same way as Blackmail but you induce somebody to do or not do an act instead of having that person give you money or property.

Is it a Crime to Blackmail?

It is a serious crime to Blackmail another person under New York Penal Law section 155.05(2)(e), which defines and prohibits Grand Larceny by Extortion. Larceny by Extortion is charged as a felony in New York and codified in New York Penal Law sections 155.30(6) and 155.40(2).

What is Coercion?

Coercion under New York law is similar to Blackmail and Extortion but has its own distinct elements. Defined under New York Penal Law section 135.60 and section 135.65, Coercion is similar to Larceny by Extortion, but instead of involving the use of threats to take or withhold property, it involves the use of similar threats to get the victim to take or not take certain actions he or she is legally allowed to take or abstain from.

What is the Penalty for Blackmail?

The penalty for Blackmail under New York law depends on the value of the property turned over to the extorter and whether violence is involved. For example, Grand larceny in the Second Degree may be charged when the value of the property is more than $50,000. The penalty for “Second Degree Blackmail” is up to fifteen years in prison. The dollar value of property used to determine the penalty and punishment for a Blackmail crime in New York is based on whether the property is actually transferred to the extorter and whether it exceeds, $1,000.00, $3,000.00, $50,000.00 or $1,000,000.000. Similarly, it is also a class “C” felony with a possible fifteen year sentence if Blackmail occurs with threats to cause a physical injury to another person or to damage property regardless of the value of the transferred goods.

What is Considered Extortion?

Extortion is Blackmail and Blackmail is Extortion. In New York Blackmail is codified as Extortion and it is a crime in which one person tries to take property, often money, from someone against that person's will by making threats of physical injury, exposing a secret, subjecting that person to ridicule, or acting in a manner that doesn’t material benefit the extorter. To complete an Extortion or Blackmail, the money or property must be delivered to the blackmailer. However, even if the property or money is not transferred, Attempted Extortion can be charged.

What is the Difference Between Extortion and Blackmail?

Extortion is charged under a specific New York statute that prohibits various forms of larceny. Extortion is codified in New York Penal Law sections 155.05(2)(e), 155.30(6) and 155.40(2). Blackmail is not a term recognized in the New York Penal Law, but is broader generic term that may encompass the crimes of both Extortion and Coercion.

Is Extortion a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Extortion is automatically a class E felony, instead of a misdemeanor, in New York. This means that a conviction carries a penalty of up to four years for the lowest level Extortion. Moreover, if there is a threat of violence or property damage, it may be elevated to a class C felony with a punishment allowing up to fifteen years in prison. Depending on the value of the property that is extorted, Extortion or Blackmail may be charged anywhere between a class E felony and a class B felony, the latter which is punishable by up to twenty-five years in prison.

Is Coercion Illegal?

Yes, coercion is illegal if it falls under the categories specified under New York Penal Law section 135.60 and section 135.65. You can be prosecuted for criminal Coercion if you try to force somebody to do or not do an act that they have a right to perform or not perform. This might involve threatening to commit violence, damage property, expose a secret, testify or withhold testimony, use your position as a public servant to adversely affect someone else, or harm someone else's reputation, personal relationships, career, business, safety, or health. If convicted of Second Degree Coercion you can go to jail for up to one year. First Degree Coercion is a felony carrying a sentence up to seven years in prison.

Can You Get Put in Jail for Extortion?

You may get put in jail for Extortion after being arrested for this crime. Moreover, every case of Extortion in New York is charged as a felony offense, and, if you are convicted, you may be sentenced to years in prison from up to four years on the lowest level Extortion to twenty-five years on the highest degree of Blackmail.

What can the Police do about Blackmail Under the New York Law?

The police can investigate whether Blackmail has occurred under New York law. A victim of Blackmail can contact the police and show the police any letters, texts, emails, or other communications that include threats to get the victim to turn over property, or to otherwise coerce the victim to do or not do an act. After investigating, if they have probable cause to believe that a suspect has committed larceny by Extortion or that Coercion has occurred, the police may can arrest the suspect. Although the police and District Attorney can take criminal action, a course of action you may wish to consider due to its benefits is putting an end to your Blackmail with the assistance of criminal lawyer outside of the court system.

What are Examples of Coercion?

One example of Coercion would be if somebody made a sex tape of his girlfriend or boyfriend, whether consented to at the time or not, and threatened to release it online (Revenge Porn) if she or he refused to have sex and engage in intercourse. Another example would occur where a coercer threatened to tell a story – true or not – that would subject you to contempt and ridicule if you did not quit your job or engage in embarrassing public behavior.

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