Extortion – Definition

Cite this article as:"Extortion – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 4, 2019, last accessed October 27, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/extortion-definition/.

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Extortion Definition

Extortion is an act of forcefully obtaining something from an individual. Money and properties are what people often forcefully obtain using illegal means. In law, extortion is a crime because it entails using threats, violence and coercion to obtain something from an individual.

In some cases, some people extort using blackmail or intimidation. People try all sorts of things outside of lawful bargaining to obtain money or property. Extortion can also take various forms ranging from ‘protection racket’ to ‘protection money’. In a more organized form, extortion can involve multiple companies paying money to certain jurisdictions without any lawful bargain but under the influence of threats or intimidation.

A Little More on What is Extortion

Extortion is unlawful and has grave impacts on people that pay money or give properties under threats or violence. Many governments and countries prohibit extortion as it is a common practice in organized crimes or sophisticated cyber schemes. Extortion can also occur in the cyberspace, racketeers also impose certain demands under the guise of ‘protection’, which constitutes extortion.

In the United States, there is a law prohibiting extortion and other corrupt practises in foreign trade and commerce. The Hobbs Act of 1946 has an extortion verdict or statute used in preventing the occurrence of extortion, especially through organized crimes.

Before a party can be declared guilty or had violated the Hobbs Act, there must be proof that the other party was forced, threatened or induced to give up their money or property.

Types of Extortion

The common types of extortion include the following;

  • Blackmail: this is using a knowledge information about a party to induce them to give up a certain amount of money or their property. When there is a threat to damage the reputation of a person, using the information they have about the party unless money or property is given, it is extortion.
  • Organized extortion or crime: This crime is perpetuated by a team of crime syndicates across different regions, businesses and countries. This extortion is done in an organized manner which might entail forcefully obtaining large sum of money from businesses and wealthy individuals.
  • Cyber extortion: This form of extortion is done using technology and advanced software. This might take the form of encrypting a computer file and it cannot be accessed until an individual gives up an amount for its use.

References for “Extortion”





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