Victim Representation and Protection: Blackmail, Extortion, Revenge Porn, Harassment, Coercion and Stalking

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When you receive the first email, phone call, text or other communication, the magnitude of fear rushing through your body cannot be overstated. Whether or not you manage to pull yourself together, the questions start coming from all side. "I am being extorted. What do I do to stop this harassment? Who should I call? Is this ever going to end?" While no criminal attorney or New York Blackmail lawyer can answer your question with complete certainty, if you take the right steps, follow the guidance of your counsel, and seize control of the situation, you can put yourself in the best position to end your victimization and abuse while keeping your career and family intact.

When you are threatened by a harasser, stalker, hacker or other person bent on forcing you to do something you do not want or to pay money under duress, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Be rational and thorough. As frightened and confused as you may be, do not let your fears and uncertainty dictate your response. Victimization doesn't end by ignoring or acquiescing to the demands of a vengeful ex, former affair, angry business partner or other narcissistic wrongdoer. Instead, your family, career and relationships are left vulnerable.

Victimization in New York: Defining Potential Crimes and Criminal ActsBlackmail and Extortion

Although the latter is the technical term defined in the New York Penal Law, both offenses are criminal and, no matter what property your victimizer is demanding in return for his or her silence, a felony. Coming in all different "shapes" and "sizes," in the simplest of terms, when a person compels you to pay him or her or to turn over any property because of a vocalized threat that if you fail to do so he or she will share a lie, secret, or truth about you that will subject you to embarrassment, shame, ridicule, contempt or even damage your personal or business relationships, then you are likely a victim of Blackmail. Other theories of this offense, defined in New York Penal Law 155.05(e), include threatening physical violence as well as making criminal accusations to induce you to turn over money or property. Whether or not you paid out your extorter and the amount of money all in question dictates the degree of the felony crime. Ultimately, should you have grounds for prosecution or merely desire to "educate" your victimizer as to his or her illegal conduct, the statutory authority to do so is found in Penal Law 155.30(6) and 155.40(2).

Penalty and Punishment

Depending the degree of the Grand Larceny, whether physical violence is threatened to person or property, and the value of the amount demanded or taken, a conviction can lead to as long as twenty-five years in prison or in lesser intervals up to fifteen, seven and four years in custody.

Example and Hypothetical

Fairly straight forward, if a woman you met online for a quick fling or a man that you used to date now threaten to call your spouse, business partner, employer or the newspaper or post to social media that you have a venereal disease, falsified tax returns, are a rampant drug user - true or not - then he or she is likely blackmailing you.

Coercion

Codified in New York Penal Law 135.60 and 135.65, the best way to understand these offenses, and whether you are a victim, is to review the Extortion statutes and replace the property or money elements with a demand that you engage in conduct or refrain from behavior that you have a right to pursue one way or another on your own.

Penalty and Punishment

Coercion is either a class "A" misdemeanor or a class "D" felony. The former carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail while the latter is punishable by as long as seven years in a state prison. Like all crimes, these offenses leave the "scar" of a permanent record and in lieu of incarceration a judge can potentially sentence you to probation. Moreover, an Order of Protection is routinely a component.

Example and Hypothetical

Again, following the Blackmail hypothetical, substitute a demand for payment and replace it with a demand that you break up with your current partner or quit your job to prevent the exposure of some damaging information.

Revenge Porn

A bit confusing, there is no crime called "Revenge Porn" but there are laws that address tis type of conduct. Not exclusive of all other offenses, one such statute is Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, NYC Administrative Code 10-177*3. Briefly, when a victimizer shares an intimate sexual image purporting to be you engaged in intercourse or merely your sexual body parts, then your abuser likely committed a crime. This is true even if you consented to the video recording or picture when it was taken as long as when it was published, or your attacker intimated it would be, you did not consent to its sharing. While "only" a misdemeanor, you can not only protect yourself with the shield of the Criminal Courts, but your legal advocate can pursue remedies in the Family and Civil Courts as well.

Penalty and Punishment

"Only" a misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to one year, if you make a complaint to the NYPD or the District Attorney, a conviction can land your harasser on Rikers Island as well as on probation, paying fines and exposed to a litany of civil consequences for his or her unlawful sharing of your intimate images, photographs, pictures and videos.

Example and Hypothetical

Upset with your break up, an ex-boyfriend decides that a video recording of you engaged in oral sex or simply a naked selfie in his possession should be shared on Instagram, Facebook or some other form of social media. Because you did not consent to this posting, and it was your ex's intent to cause you emotional strife or some other damage to your career, name, or health, you could pursue your remedies as a victim of "Revenge Porn" with the aid of our attorneys.

Stalking and Aggravated Harassment

In the context of victimization, the above two offenses often go hand and hand. Although potentially a felony, the two misdemeanor Stalking offenses are codified in Penal Law 120.45 and 120.50. Aggravated Harassment, also a misdemeanor, is found in Penal Law 240.30. In substance, if a stalker repeatedly communicates with you or follows you for no legitimate purpose knowing (or he should know) the great distress and material impact it will have on your well-being, mental health, physical safety and even career, you will likely have the ability to protect yourself inside and outside the criminal justice system.

Penalty and Punishment

Class "A" and "B" misdemeanors, the potential punishment is one year and ninety days in jail respectively with the same exposure to probation and, as the other violations, permanent records.

Example and Hypothetical

An acquaintance or former lover routinely shows up at your work, calls your office and mobile phones, sends you text messages and stands outside your home or apartment. Maybe he or she made threats or simply refused to stop her course of conduct despite your demand to cease and desist. While words and actions are important, if your harasser continues to communicate or physically approach you, a crime may have very well been committed.

Victim Protection and Representation: Former Prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC

There is a reason why high net worth individuals, accomplished business persons, celebrities and anyone in the public domain, or those simply recognizing the necessity for privacy as it relates to their home and professional life, seek the counsel of Crotty Saland PC to manage threats of Extortion and Harassment. Stepping away from any law enforcement or pseudo law enforcement involvement, your lawyer, along with investigators and former detectives, can take on the role of prosecutor to best terminate the threats and ongoing campaign of terror in a discrete manner. Make no mistake. A cease and desist "memo" and visit from investigators can be extremely persuasive while limiting public exposure. At the same time, because your attorneys and former detectives have either developed or put together a case based on controlled calls, wiring you up," a review of text or email records and statements from your abuser, should you decide to go to law enforcement our counsel can potentially bring a packaged case directly to a prosecutor or to the Family Court. Equally important, you remain in control of the case, not a detective or the District Attorney, only providing the same to law enforcement should your extorter or harasser remain non-compliant.

Crotty Saland PC's Law Enforcement Option

With the assistance of your legal advocates, you can go directly to a law enforcement agency such as the NYPD, Manhattan District Attorney, or Brooklyn District Attorney. In such a scenario, detectives and / or prosecutors can investigate allegations based on the materials and evidence we provide while utilizing both the court system and New York Penal Law as a sword and shield. Certainly, there is no dispute that law enforcement has the ability to make controlled calls, subpoena text messages, email, computer and mobile phone records, and execute search warrants. However, before going to law enforcement there are many questions that must be asked. Should you attempt to go directly to prosecutors and bypass the police or filing of a complaint at your local precinct? Even if you know you want to go to law enforcement, can your Extortion attorney in New York and a private investigator build a case and secure evidence in a more efficient manner that also limits public exposure? Addressing the latter, can you be assured privacy when you go to law enforcement without counsel and once you do so, who controls the case trajectory, you or a prosecutor? Simply, this route may be the correct one for you, but without advocacy from your lawyer, how long will it take law enforcement to respond and end your abuse? An arrest of your extorter or harasser and an Order of Protection may be the only way to stop him or her, but it is critical to understand your options first.

Crotty Saland PC's Family Court Option

Another route to stop Harassment is for your lawyer to file a Family Offense Petition for a Restraining Order. While such a petition does not have criminal consequences to your menacer, a mechanism exists to secure a Family Court Order of Protection without an arrest. That said, you abuser must have some intimate or familial relationship and there will be a potentially public proceeding even if far more limited than that in a Criminal Court.

Your Life: Your Future

Ultimately, there are many wild cards in handling the dynamic nature of victimization by an ex-lover, affair, business partner or some random individual who may, or may not, have damaging information about you to share. Getting in front of the issue and seeking the service of an experienced Extortion defense attorney can, and routinely will, mean the difference between shame, humiliation, ongoing financial and marital trauma or ruin and closure to a harrowing and anxiety driven experience.

Don't act rashly and delete emails or texts from your harasser. Don't merely react and block your extorter. Don't acquiesce to criminal demands for money with the hope that if you are compliant life will return to normal. Protect yourself, as former Crotty Saland PC clients have, and get the answers you need to make an informed decision. There is no better time then now to seek out advocacy, knowledge and experience. The alternative is devastation.

Call the Former Manhattan Prosecutors and New York Blackmail Lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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