Extortion is a way of obtaining money or property from someone by threat. This means that the victim has voluntarily given up the money or property, but only under threat of harm, public disgrace, or some other unwanted action.
Types of Threats
To meet the legal definition of extortion under Oklahoma law, the threat may be:
- • To cause physical injury or damage to the person, his or her property, or any member of his or her family
- • To accuse him or her or a family member of a crime
- • To expose something potentially embarrassing or disgraceful
- • To expose a secret that could negatively affect him or her
Extortion vs. Blackmail
Though similar in nature, there is a distinction between blackmail and extortion under the law. Blackmail is defined as a verbal or written communication that is intended to extort money, property, or anything of value under threat of:
- • Accusing the person of a crime or disgraceful conduct
- • Revealing information that may disgrace or harm the person’s reputation
- • Threatening to report the person as being in the U.S. illegally
Extortion and blackmail are both considered felony offenses in Oklahoma. If convicted of either crime, you could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. If convicted of blackmail, you could alternatively be sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine or be sentenced to both the fine and prison time.