Extortion  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Extortion (also called blackmail, shakedown, outwresting, and exaction) is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person(s), entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of violence which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense.

Similar crimes

  • Badger game: The victim or "mark"—often a married man—is tricked into a compromising position to make him vulnerable to blackmail.
  • Clip joint: A clip joint or fleshpot is an establishment, usually a strip club or entertainment bar, typically one claiming to offer adult entertainment or bottle service, in which customers are tricked into paying money and receive poor goods or services, or none, in return.
  • Coercion: the practice of compelling a person or manipulating them to behave in an involuntary way (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or some other form of pressure or force. These are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way.
  • Confidence trick (also known as a bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, swindle or bamboozle): an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.
  • Cryptovirology: a software scam in which a public key cryptography system crafts fake keys which encrypt the user's data, but cannot decrypt them unless the user pays for the real key.
  • Danegeld: The Danegeld ("Danish tax") was a tax raised to pay tribute to the Viking raiders to save a land from being ravaged. It was called the geld or gafol in eleventh-century sources; the term Danegeld did not appear until the early twelfth century.
  • Dognapping: The crime of taking a canine from its owner, which usually occurs in purebred dogs, the profit from which can run up to thousands of dollars.
  • Loan sharking: A loan shark is a person or body that offers unsecured loans at high interest rates to individuals, often backed by blackmail or threats of violence.
  • Nuclear blackmail: Nuclear blackmail is a form of nuclear strategy in which an aggressor uses the threat of use of nuclear weapons to force an adversary to perform some action or make some concessions. It is a type of extortion, related to brinkmanship.
  • Prize: ransom offered instead of destroying a captured vessel, a form of extortion deemed acceptable under international law in the days of fighting sail.
  • Price gouging: a pejorative term for a seller pricing much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a felony that applies in some of the United States only during civil emergencies.
  • Tallage: Tallage or talliage (from the French tailler, a part cut out of the whole) may have signified at first any tax, but became in England and France a land use or land tenure tax. Later in England it was further limited to assessments by the crown upon cities, boroughs, and royal domains. In effect, tallage was a land tax.
  • Terrorism: most simply, policy intended to intimidate or cause terror. It is more commonly understood as an act which is intended to create fear (terror), is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence or unconventional warfare, but at present, the international community has been unable to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism.
  • Tiger kidnapping: the taking of an innocent hostage to make a loved one or associate of the victim do something, e.g. a child is taken hostage to force the shopkeeper to open the safe; the term originates from the prior observation of the victim, like a tiger does with its prey. Ransoms are often used alongside these.
  • Wheel clamping: widely used in England by private individuals and companies to extort money from motorists. This practice is illegal in Scotland.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Extortion" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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