Criminal Possession Of Stolen Property – All states and the federal government criminalize extortion, also called blackmail (K.S.A. § 21-3428, 2011). As previously stated, the Model Penal Code criminalizes theft by extortion and classifies it as the same as all other non-forcible theft offenses (Model Penal Code § 223.4). Extortion is usually nonviolent, but the elements of extortion are very similar to robbery, which is considered a forcible theft offense. The theft is discussed shortly.
Extortion has the elements of criminal act, criminal intent, circumstances, causation, and damages, as explored in Section 11.2.1 “Extortion”.
Criminal Possession Of Stolen Property
The element of the criminal act required for extortion is usually the theft of property committed by a threatened cause
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Harm to the victim, including threatening to cause bodily harm, accusing someone of committing a crime, or revealing a secret that would expose the victim to hatred, contempt, or ridicule (Ga. Code § 16-8-16, 2011 ). The Model Penal Code criminalizes theft by extortion when the defendant obtains the property of another by threatening to do any bodily harm to anyone, commit any criminal offense, accuse anyone of a criminal offense, expose any secret tendency to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule or damage his credit and business reputation, take or withhold action as an official, conduct a strike or boycott, testify in connection with legal claim of another, or cause any other damage that would not benefit the actor (Model Penal Code § 223.4) . Note that some of these tasks may
Rodney tells Lindsey that he will report his illegal drug trafficking to local law enforcement if he does not pay him fifteen thousand dollars. Rodney likely created the element of the criminal act required for extortion in most jurisdictions. Note that Rodney’s threat to expose Lindsey’s illegal activities was real
Conduct when done with the intention of eliminating or reducing crime. However, under these circumstances, Rodney’s action was likely
The element of criminal intent required for extortion is usually the specific purpose or intent to commit the criminal act and unlawfully deprive the victim of property.
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(Connecticut Criminal Jury Instructions §§53a-119(5), 2011). This intent requirement is similar to the criminal intent element required for larceny and false pretenses theft, as discussed in Section 11 “Consolidated Theft Intent”. Some jurisdictions require only the general purpose or willful commission of the criminal act (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1804).
Review the example with Rodney and Lindsey in Section 11 “Extortion Law Example”. Change the example and suppose that Rodney asks Lindsey to lend him fifteen thousand dollars so that he can pay off the balloon due on his mortgage. Lindsey refused. After that Rodney threatens to expose Lindsey’s drug trafficking if he doesn’t lend her money. In many jurisdictions, Rodney may not have the criminal intent element required for extortion. Although Rodney committed the criminal act of threatening to report Lindsey for a crime, he did so with intent.
Money from Lindsey. Thus Rodney did not act with the specific purpose or intent to permanently deprive Lindsey of the property, which could operate as a failure of proof or affirmative defense to extortion in many jurisdictions.
Extortion is a form of theft, so it has the same circumstance required in the consolidated theft statutes—the property stolen belongs to
Penal Code § 496 Pc
. In many jurisdictions, it is an affirmative defense to extortion that property taken by threatening to expose a secret or accuse someone of a criminal offense was taken.
, as compensation for property, or restitution or indemnity for damage done by crime or crime (Ga. Code § 16-8-16, 2011). The Model Penal Code provides an affirmative defense to extortion by threat of accusation of a criminal offense, exposure of a secret, or threat to take or withhold action as an official if the property obtained is “honest claimed as restitution or compensation for damage done in the circumstances to which such accusation, exposure, suit or other official action relates, or as compensation for property or lawful services” (Model Penal Code § 223.4).
Tara, a real estate broker, hires Trent to be a real estate sales agent in her small realty office. Tara decides she wants to get a competitor’s property listing by using Trent to get information. Tara tells Trent to pretend he’s a buyer interested in the property. He asks her to make an appointment with the competitor, ask a lot of questions about the property owner, and then bring the information to Tara. Tara promises to pay Trent a thousand dollars for his time and effort. Trent spends several hours performing this task and then demands his one thousand dollar payment. Tara tells Trent that she’s going through “hard times” and can’t afford to pay him. Trent threatens to tell Tara’s competitor what he’s going to do if he doesn’t pay him a thousand dollars. Trent probably has
Committed extortion in many jurisdictions. Although Trent threatens to expose Tara’s secret if she doesn’t pay him a thousand dollars, Trent
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In secret. Thus in many jurisdictions, Trent has an affirmative defense that the money demanded is payment for services and not the subject of unlawful theft by extortion.
Extortion also requires the accompanying circumstance of the victim’s consent. With extortion, the victim agrees to transfer property based on fear caused by the defendant’s threat (Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions No. CR 5-34, 2011).
Review the example with Rodney and Lindsey in Section 11 “Extortion Law Example”. Suppose Lindsey grudgingly gives Rodney fifteen thousand dollars to keep him from reporting his drug trafficking. In this example, Lindsey is
Transferring money to Rodney to stop him from carrying out his threat. Thus the accompanying circumstance of the victim’s consent based on fear is likely present, and Rodney could be subject to prosecution for and conviction of extortion in most jurisdictions.
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The criminal act must be the factual and legal cause of the extortion damage, defined in Section 11 “Extortion Damages”.
A defendant must take property belonging to another for the completed crime of extortion in most jurisdictions (Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions No. CR 5-34, 2011). If the defendant commits the criminal act of threatening the victim with appropriate criminal intent, but the victim does not actually transfer the property to the defendant, the defendant may only be charged with
Review the example with Rodney and Lindsey in Section 11 “Extortion Law Example”. Suppose that after Rodney threatens to report Lindsey’s drug trafficking to local law enforcement, Lindsey calls local law enforcement, turns himself in for drug trafficking, and reports Rodney for the threat as well. In this case, since Rodney did not “obtain” the property by threat, the crime of extortion is incomplete, and
Extortion is generally classified as a felony in most jurisdictions (O. Rev. Stat. § 164.075, 2011). As previously stated, the Model Penal Code classifies extortion under its consolidated offense of theft.
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Burglary is the first common law theft crime. The criminalization of robbery is a natural progression from other common law crimes against the person because robbery always involves force, violence, or threats and may pose a risk of injury or death to the victim of the robbery, defendant, or other innocent bystanders. Recall from Chapter 9 “Criminal Homicide” that robbery is usually a serious felony that most felony murder statutes include as a predicate felony for first-degree felony murder. When theft does not result in death, it is generally rated more serious than theft under a consolidated theft statute. The grading of theft is discussed shortly.
The elements of robbery are very similar to the elements of larceny and extortion. For the purpose of brevity, only the elements of theft that distinguish larceny and extortion are studied in depth. Theft has the elements of a criminal act, accompanying circumstances, criminal intent, causation, and damage, as explored in Section 11.2 “Extortion, Theft, and Receiving Stolen Property”.
This is the element of the criminal act that primarily distinguishes theft from robbery and extortion. The element of the criminal act required for theft is the taking of personal property by force or threat of force (Ind. Code § 35-42-5-1, 2011). Force is usually physical force. The force may be slight, but it must be more than what is necessary to gain control of and move the property (S.W. v. State, 2011). Many jurisdictions require force
The taking, which involves the use of force to prevent the victim from retrieving property, or during escape (State v. Handburgh, 2011). The Model Penal Code requires force or threats “in the course of committing a robbery” and defines it as occurring in “an attempt to commit a robbery or in fleeing after the attempt or commission” (Model Penal Code § 222.1(1)) . A threat to steal is a threat that must be imposed
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Although robbery and extortion also require acquisition, the defendant usually commits the acquisition by stealth, or a misrepresentation of the truth. In extortion, the defendant accomplishes the taking by threatening to
Review the example given in Section 11 “Extortion Law Example” with Rodney and Lindsey. In this example, Rodney threatens to expose Lindsey’s drug trafficking if he doesn’t pay her fifteen thousand dollars. Change the example so that Rodney tells Lindsey that he is going to kill her
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