Extortion is defined as when a person illegally forces someone into giving them money, property, or some kind of service. While there are different types of extortion, it is different from an armed robbery in the sense that no immediate force is used. Extortion often goes hand in hand with bribery. While organized crime groups often practice extortion, there are other ways of extorting someone than threatening violence.
Extortion is a Federal crime. Even the threat of extortion, without actually obtaining anything, is not legal. Extortion isn't technically robbery, although the two crimes are similar. The threat does not always have to be physical either. A threat to damage one's reputation, usually a professional reputation, is a common way of committing extortion.
No form of robbery is considered to be legal. Extortion is no exception. However, there is a form of extortion that is referred to as legal extortion. Legal extortion can refer to a number of things. Most fees for things such as gasoline or particular lawsuits are called legal extortion since the actual characteristics of extortion are not there. A person is not necessarily threatened to comply with the other's demands, but they may feel that they have to anyway.
Extortion is often compared to the crimes of robbery or false pretenses. False pretenses are when an individual lies to obtain property or money. This falls under the category of fraud. As a Federal crime, extortion is very serious. The crime of extortion is often compared to robbery, and there are some similarities. Robbery involves the use of immediate harm to obtain money, property, or other things from an individual. For the crime of extortion to have taken place, one must pose a verbal or physical threat to the individual that they are extorting. One can commit robbery without either of those things.
People who are in positions of authority have been known for committing extortion. Since they are in a position of power, it may be easier for those individuals to scare people into complying with their demands. Material goods are not the only things that can be extorted. People may extort information or secret information from an individual. This type of extortion can commonly be done by threatening an individual with private things that the extortionist knows about them. This is also known as abuse of authority. Even with the different name, it still falls under the crime of extortion.
The crime of extortion is a common one amongst certain groups. While there are many different ways to extort someone, the threat of violence or releasing private information are two ways that are commonly used.