Available 24/7. FREE attorney consultation via phone, video conferencing, or in person

Call For Your Free Consultation

Share Article
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Extortion vs. Blackmail

Last updated on: November 7, 2023

By Lebedin Kofman LLP

Extortion is a crime that falls under the broader category of grand larceny by extortion in New York. It involves using threats, coercion, or intimidation to compel someone to part with their property, services, or actions against their will. The repercussions for those found guilty of extortion can be life-altering, including hefty fines, incarceration, and a tarnished reputation. Extortion charges in New York are not to be taken lightly. The consequences of being accused of extortion can be severe and far-reaching, potentially altering the course of your life. 

If you or someone you know is grappling with extortion charges in New York, it’s imperative to take immediate action. Don’t leave your future to chance; seek the guidance of a seasoned Manhattan grand larceny attorney from Lebedin Kofman LLP without delay. Our legal team works diligently to pursue the best possible outcome in our clients’ cases and to help them avoid the life-altering consequences of a conviction. Your rights, your liberty, and your reputation hang in the balance—don’t confront these charges in isolation. Call Lebedin Kofman LLP at (646) 663-4430 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Grand Larceny by Extortion and Blackmail in New York

Larceny charges in New York refer to the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. Larceny is a broad category of theft-related offenses and encompasses various types of theft, such as stealing personal belongings, shoplifting, or embezzlement. 

Larceny by extortion, also referred to as extortionate larceny, is a crime that can occur in various forms, but it fundamentally revolves around unlawfully obtaining another person’s property or money by instilling fear or threatening the victim. In New York, this offense is considered a serious violation of the law.

Legal Definitions and Distinctions

Codified under New York Penal Law sections 155.30(6) and 155.40(2), grand larceny by extortion involves the use of threats, coercion, or intimidation to compel someone to give up their property or services. It’s a form of theft where the perpetrator gains possession of property by exerting pressure on the victim, often involving threats of harm, property damage, or other adverse consequences. 

Like other theft crimes, grand larceny by extortion charges increase in severity depending on the value of the stolen property. Given that it is considered a theft from the person, extortion is punished more severely compared to regular theft crimes. In New York, grand larceny by extortion in the fourth degree is classified as a class E felony, the conviction of which can result in one to four years in prison.

Key Elements of Larceny by Extortion

Larceny by extortion is defined by specific key elements that must be present for the offense to occur. These elements include:

  • Unlawful Taking: The perpetrator must take someone else’s property without permission or legal authority.
  • Intent to Deprive: There must be an intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property.
  • Use of Threats or Coercion: Extortionate tactics, such as threats of physical harm, damage to property, or revealing damaging information, must be employed to obtain the property or money.
  • Victim’s Fear: The victim must reasonably fear the consequences of non-compliance with the demands.

Extortion and Blackmail in New York

Blackmail, when done to deprive someone of their property, falls under the category of grand larceny by extortion. This is an important distinction from Coercion which is done to induce someone to commit an act or prevent them from doing an act.

Penalties for Larceny by Extortion

In New York, grand larceny by extortion is a serious criminal offense that is categorized into different degrees based on the value of the property or money stolen, as well as the circumstances of the extortion. Each degree carries distinct punishments. Here’s an overview of the different degrees of grand larceny by extortion and their respective punishments:

Fourth Degree Grand Larceny by Extortion

  • Value Threshold: Grand larceny by itself can be charged if property valued at more than $1,000 but less than $3,000 is stolen. However, if the property is stolen through extortion, theft of property valued at less than $1,000 can still constitute a charge of grand larceny.
  • Punishment: This is a Class E felony, which can result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 4 years.

Third-Degree Grand Larceny by Extortion:

  • Value Threshold: Property or money valued at more than $3,000.
  • Punishment: This is a Class D felony, which can lead to a maximum prison sentence of up to 7 years.

Second-Degree Grand Larceny by Extortion:

  • Value Threshold: Property or money valued at more than $50,000.
  • Punishment: This is a Class C felony, and a conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years.

First-Degree Grand Larceny by Extortion:

  • Value Threshold: Property or money valued at more than $1 million.
  • Punishment: This is the most severe degree of grand larceny by extortion and is classified as a Class B felony. A conviction can lead to a maximum prison sentence of up to 25 years.

It’s important to note that these penalties are subject to change based on factors such as prior criminal history and other circumstances surrounding the case. Additionally, New York law may impose additional penalties for certain aggravating factors, such as the use of a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime.

Individuals facing charges of grand larceny by extortion should consult with a qualified attorney who can provide legal guidance and help navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system in New York. Additionally, the specific details of each case can impact the exact charges and penalties a defendant may face, so legal advice tailored to the individual situation is crucial.

Extortion and Blackmail: Key Points

When examining extortion and blackmail in accordance with New York laws, it becomes evident that these two criminal activities share certain commonalities, primarily involving coercion, threats, and a shared motive.

Intimidation and Threats in Extortion and Blackmail

Both extortion and blackmail involve the use of intimidation and threats to compel another person to comply with the demands of the perpetrator. In New York, the law recognizes that the underlying principle in both crimes is the exertion of undue pressure on the victim to gain an advantage, typically involving property, money, or some form of personal benefit.

Intent to Gain: A Shared Motive

One of the core similarities between extortion and blackmail is the shared motive of personal gain. In both cases, the perpetrator seeks to obtain something of value from the victim. This can include money, property, services, or even actions that the victim may be compelled to perform.

Essentially, extortion and blackmail differ primarily in the nature of the threats and the context in which they occur. Extortion typically involves threats of physical harm, damage to property, or other harmful actions in order to gain something, property in the context of grand larceny. Blackmail, as a type of extortion, involves threats to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful, or damaging information about the victim unless certain demands are met. 

Aspect Extortion Blackmail
Intimidation and Threats Both involve the use of intimidation and threats to compel compliance with the perpetrator’s demands. Both involve the use of intimidation and threats to compel compliance with the perpetrator’s demands.
Shared Motive The shared motive is personal gain, seeking to obtain something of value from the victim, such as money or property. The shared motive is personal gain, seeking to obtain something of value from the victim, but typically involves threats to reveal embarrassing or damaging information.
Nature of Threats Typically involves threats of physical harm, property damage, or harmful actions. Involves threats to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful, or damaging information about the victim.

Building a Strong Defense

Mounting a robust defense is imperative when facing charges related to grand larceny by extortion, including the distinct offense of blackmail. Building a strong defense requires a combination of legal acumen, strategic planning, and careful consideration of the unique aspects of each case.

The Vital Role of Legal Counsel

Securing legal counsel is the cornerstone of any defense against charges of extortion or blackmail in New York. Experienced grand larceny attorneys familiar with the nuances of the state’s laws are essential allies in navigating the legal complexities. They can provide guidance, protect your rights, and craft a defense tailored to your specific circumstances.

Defense Strategies for Extortion and Blackmail

Defense strategies for extortion and blackmail cases often hinge on challenging the prosecution’s evidence and establishing a credible counter-narrative. Some common defense strategies include:

  • Challenging the Intimidation or Threat: Contesting the validity of the threats made by the alleged perpetrator, particularly if they can be proven to be implausible or baseless.
  • Questioning Intent: Demonstrating a lack of intent to commit the crime, emphasizing misunderstandings or miscommunications between parties.
  • Alibi or Lack of Involvement: Establishing that the accused was not directly involved in the alleged criminal act or that they have an alibi proving their absence during the event.

Gathering Evidence and Witness Testimonies

Gathering evidence and securing witness testimonies can be pivotal in building a strong defense. This may involve:

  • Collecting Information: Retrieving emails, text messages, or other digital communications that could shed light on the case.
  • Witness Statements: Obtaining statements from individuals who can provide an alternative perspective or corroborate your version of events.
  • Surveillance Footage: Utilizing surveillance footage or other visual evidence to support your defense, such as building an alibi.

Negotiating with Prosecutors

In some cases, negotiation with prosecutors may be a viable option to reach a favorable outcome. Skilled defense attorneys can engage in discussions with prosecutors to explore plea deals or reduced charges, depending on the circumstances and strength of the defense.

Navigating the intricacies of New York’s legal system when facing charges related to grand larceny by extortion, including blackmail, is a challenging endeavor. The assistance of a seasoned attorney and a well-crafted defense strategy are indispensable in safeguarding your rights and interests throughout the legal process.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Working with a skilled Manhattan grand larceny lawyer is critically important when facing charges related to grand larceny or any other serious criminal offense. Here are several key reasons why hiring an experienced attorney in Manhattan, specifically for grand larceny cases, is essential:

Knowledge of New York Laws: Manhattan lawyers who specialize in grand larceny cases are well-versed in New York’s criminal laws and the specific elements of grand larceny. They understand the nuances of the legal system, which can be complex and vary from state to state. This knowledge is crucial in building a strong defense.

Understanding of Local Practices: A Manhattan lawyer is familiar with the local legal practices, judges, and prosecutors. They know how the Manhattan criminal justice system operates, which can be advantageous when negotiating plea deals or advocating on your behalf in court.

Case Assessment: Skilled lawyers can thoroughly assess the details of your case, identifying strengths and weaknesses. They can determine if there are any potential legal defenses or grounds for challenging evidence, ensuring that your rights are protected.

Crafting a Defense Strategy: Manhattan grand larceny lawyers have the experience to craft a tailored defense strategy based on the unique circumstances of your case. They can explore various defense options, such as challenging evidence, questioning witness credibility, or negotiating for reduced charges.

Protection of Your Rights: Your attorney will work diligently to protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal process. This includes ensuring that evidence was obtained legally, that you are not subjected to unlawful searches or seizures, and that your right to a fair trial is upheld.

Negotiation Skills: Experienced lawyers are adept at negotiating with prosecutors. They can engage in plea negotiations to potentially secure reduced charges or penalties, depending on the circumstances. Negotiation can often lead to more favorable outcomes for the defendant.

Trial Representation: If your case goes to trial, having a skilled Manhattan lawyer by your side is invaluable. They can present a compelling case, cross-examine witnesses, and argue legal points effectively to a judge and jury.

Mitigation of Penalties: In the event of a conviction, a skilled attorney can work to mitigate the penalties you face. This may involve advocating for alternatives to incarceration, such as probation, diversion programs, or reduced fines.

Emotional Support: Facing criminal charges can be emotionally taxing. A knowledgeable attorney can provide emotional support and guidance throughout the legal process, helping to alleviate some of the stress associated with criminal proceedings.

Getting the help of a skilled Manhattan grand larceny lawyer is essential to ensure that you receive competent legal representation and that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Their knowledge of local laws and ability to craft a strong defense can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Working with an Experienced Manhattan Grand Larceny Attorney from Lebedin Kofman LLP

Hiring a skilled Manhattan grand larceny lawyer is crucial when facing charges related to grand larceny for several key reasons. Our team of experienced New York City grand larceny attorneys at Lebedin Kofman LLP possess in-depth knowledge of New York’s criminal laws and are well-versed in local legal practices, judges, and prosecutors. 

We can conduct a thorough evaluation of the details of your case, craft a tailored defense strategy, and protect your constitutional rights throughout the legal process. We can help explore your legal options and, when applicable, negotiate with prosecutors for the dismissal or reduction of the charges. We can also provide strong advocacy and aggressive representation if the case comes to trial. 

You don’t have to face your charges alone. Our team understands the impact a conviction can have on a person’s life. Contact Lebedin Kofman LLP at (646) 663-4430 today and schedule a consultation to discuss your options with a top-rated Manhattan grand larceny attorney. 

Criminal Defense

Related Posts

According to the National Coalition for Domestic Violence, approximately 20 individuals are abused by a domestic partner every minute in...
In New York law, sexual assault is the umbrella term used to define sex crimes involving nonconsensual touching or sexual...
Refusals are a whole subsection of DWI law on their own. Someone who refuses the breath or blood test will...