What are the laws defining Blackmail in New York? Is Blackmail merely another word for Extortion? Are either one or both of these – Blackmail or Extortion – technically crimes in New York State? What is my recourse if I am either a victim of Extortion or, alternatively, accused of Blackmail?
As a preliminary matter, whether you choose to pursue criminal charges against an extorter or not, New York makes any Extortion a class “E” felony irrespective of the property the blackmailer takes from you or the value of that property. The crimes is more serious and a higher degree felony based on the value of the property as it exceeds $3,000.00, $50,000.00 and $1 million. Further, when violence or threats of violence are part of a Blackmail, crimes of this nature further ratchet up what might otherwise be a base level violation of New York Penal Law 155.30(6).
Without getting too lost in the weeds, this particular blog entry will address when words on their face may not clearly reflect an extortive intent, but circumstantially and practically establish a violation of Grand Larceny by Extortion.