So I was talking to a friend who’s received threatening emails over the last year or so, and I decided to do a little research about extortion and its cousin, blackmail. I collected quite a few random facts. For instance, did you know that in the state of California, criminal extortion is the use of threats or threatening behavior to procure goods or services. An example of that type of behavior is threatening to expose secret or harmful information, whether true or false. Interesting! To quote my friends at Stephen G. Rodriguez and Associates:
“Blackmail is extortion by threatening another person’s reputation or organization with the disclosure of harmful or secret information that would be damaging to that person if released. The information to be released may be true or false. The disclosure of the information does not have to be criminal nor does the offender actually have to receive money or property for the act to be considered extortion.”
And, even more fascinating, according to California penal code 518, extortion is typically charged as a felony and is punishable by two, three or four years in California State Prison, plus up to $10,000 in fines. Who knew that sending threatening emails could send you to prison!
Anyway, just a few random facts I learned today. Back to my real homework.