a wisconsin theft crime
Commonly known as blackmail, extortion necessarily involves at least two people: the actor who is extorting and the victim who is being extorted. For the crime of extortion, the extortionist must make a threat upon the victim that causes the victim to believe that a harm will be done to the victim's person, to the victim's reputation, to a family member or a family member's reputation. The threat must seek to compel the victim to pay money, do some act, or refrain from doing some act against the victim's will. The extortionist must be seeking to acquire another's property.
To sustain a charge of extortion and get a conviction, the prosecution need only show that the extortionist threatened a physical harm sufficient to cause bodily injury, whether or not that threat is carried out, attempted or even actually possible; the victim need only believe that the threat can be carried out, and can cause harm.
The threat can also be non-physical, a threat to the reputation of the victim or a member of the victim's family. Whether the threat is even possible is inconsequential; the victim only need believe that the extortionist can carry out the threat to harm the victim's reputation, the family's reputation, or a family member's reputation.
Unlike robbery, where the taking of property must be from
the person of the victim or in the presence of the victim, extortion threats
need not be made in person, nor to a person in the vicinity of the victim.
In fact, the threats can be made over the phone, via e-mail, or through
any medium of communication suitable to deliver the message to the victim.
Timing of Threats
Also unlike the threat of force required for the crime of
robbery, where the threat must exist contemporaneously with the taking
of property, for the crime of extortion, the threat need not exist contemporaneously
with the acquisition of or the demand for property. In fact, the threat
of harm (whether to life, limb or property) seldom concurs at the same time as the acquisition
of property in an extortion crime.
In an extortion, the threat made is usually for a future
harm, but the timing is critical for the prosecution and defense of an
extortion charge because some jurisdictions recognize that the actual
commission of the crime occurs when the threat is made, while other jurisdictions
recognize the commission of the crime occurs upon receipt of property. In
all jurisdictions, the crime that is sought to be prevented is the threat
Truth of Threats
Every person has the right to expose the crimes of another person. In an extortion, truth is not a defense, even if the basis upon which the extortion rests is a truth. Regardless of the validity of the secret that the extortionist wants to be compensated for not revealing, it is still a crime to threaten harm upon a person to compel them to transfer property to the extortionist
Extortion Against A Financial Institution
An extortion upon a financial institute occurs when the extortionist threatens to cause bodily harm to an owner, employee or agent of a financial institution or to cause damage to property owned by or under the custody or control of the financial institution.
Extortion upon a financial institute is a Class H Felony offense.
Van Wagner & Wood Can Help
If you are under investigation for extortion, if you have
been accused of extortion, or if you have already been convicted of extortion and believe your conviction
or sentence were wrong, call the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood (284-1200 locally in Madison, Wisconsin, or 1-888-663-8163 from anywhere in Wisconsin)
for a brief but professional first-impression analysis of your case. There is no charge for the initial consultation.
Wagner & Wood