Re: Not a good thing - clarification
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, oracleintl@... wrote:
>Your explanation makes perfect sense to me, Bill!
> Just to be clear, the chopped up way that my e-mail came thru made it look
> like the comment in parens was mine -- it was not.
> Generally speaking, "extortion" is the more technical term for "blackmail,"
> and to say that extortionate threats are limited to "lawful acts" is just
> plain stooopid.
> Very few criminal codes have a provision for both -- most call it either
> blackmail, or extortion, to use threats to coerce people to do something against
> their will.
> Where there is a distinction, blackmail is always a specific kind of
> extortion. Some statutes define blackmail as extortion put in writing, and some
> statutes define blackmail as an extortionate threat to expose a person to
> prosecution, embarrassment, ridicule, etc., as opposed to a threat of violence.
> That being said, the author apparently got confused about the "otherwise
> lawful acts" aspect of extortion. I'll explain.
> Suppose Rick and his wife are getting divorced, and she believes that he has
> been squirreling away loads of money in secret accounts - naturally wanting
> her piece of that action. Suppose I investigate and find that Rick routinely
> gets paid by checks payable to him personally, and only declares to the IRS
> whatever income is associated with a W-2 or 1099.
> Can I go to Rick and say, "You have been a very bad boy. I pay my taxes,
> you should pay yours, and your wife said I could feel free to screw up your
> life. I put all that evidence in an envelope, and I sent it to the IRS."?
> Of course I can say that. There's no extortion -- there's nothing he can do
> about it. There is no, "I am going to X if you don't Y."
> On the other hand, if I threaten to do it as a way to make him settle
> favorably, even though turning him over to the IRS would be otherwise lawful, it is
> still a crime to use the threat to coerce him.
> There is another thing you should be aware of along this same line -- a
> wicked little concept called "constructive extortion." Even if you don't
> actually say the words, you can be prosecuted for constructively extorting him if
> you effectively did the same thing.
> "Gee Rick, in the course of my investigation, I discovered . . ., and ya
> know, it would be a real shame to find yourself in jail for filing fraudulent
> tax returns and affirmative acts of evasion. That would truly suck. I sure
> hope it doesn't come to that."
> That would be constructive extortion.
> Finally, I know of no statute where the offense is not complete once the
> threat is made -- the person does not have to comply with the extortionate
> demand to complete the offense.
> I hope this serves to clarify things; the person who wrote that article was
> a boob.
> Bill E. Branscum, Investigator
> Irascible Curmudgeon,
> Contumelious Cynic,
> Inveterate Skeptic &
> Incorrigible Purveyor of Pointed Prose
> Oracle International
> Naples, FL 34101
> (239) 304-1639 V
> (239) 304-1640 F
> (239) 641-6782 C
> _www.FraudsAndScams.com_ (http://www.FraudsAndScams.com)
Thank you for taking the time to explain extortion and blackmail to us, Bill. These are probably crimes that even the P.I. working criminal defense cases does not get to see very often.
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