Blackmail, is also known as extortion according to Fraud Lawyers in Florida.
The crime involves sensitive issues to the victim wherein a person’s deepest, darkest secrets are threatened to be exposed, if that person fails to give in to the demands of the blackmailer in question. Blackmail is considered to be quite a serious offense. Florida has especially strict laws related to threat crimes. If a victim reports an offense where they are being blackmailed, the blackmailer, if convicted, can face serious criminal charges according to William Ryan Moore, a Fraud Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.

An Overview of Florida Extortion Laws

Chapter 836.05 of the Florida Statutes defines threat crimes. Blackmail or extortion involves describes a threat made with the intention of usurping a victim’s property or money, and to compel the victim to act or not act regarding a certain situation. Florida Lawyers who regularly defend fraud crimes argue that the threat made to the victim must be sufficient enough to be able to overcome the victim’s free will. Robbery is different from extortion or blackmail. This is due to the fact that robbery entails an immediate threat, usually of physical harm, which occurs at the time the perpetrator is taking the property. Extortion on the other hand, involves a threat at any given time.

There are many elements that a Florida state prosecutor must establish in order to prove an extortion case: according to Florida Fraud Defense Lawyers.

Threat: A Florida state prosecutor must be able to prove that a verbal or written threat was made by the defendant. The threat could imply psychological harm, physical harm or even death to the recipient of the threat, to property, or to another person, if the victim does not comply. In other cases, the threat could involve accusing the victim of a crime, revealing a secret, or ruining their reputation.

Under Florida law, the defendant may threaten to do either an unlawful or lawful act. So long as the prosecutor can show that the defendant with malicious intent, extortion can include the threat of a legal act. Most individuals charged didn’t know this aspect of our Florida Criminal Laws claims Attorney Moore.

Intent: The prosecutor must be able to show that the defendant had intent to receive property, to gain financially, or to compel the victim to act against their own free will. Florida law however, does not require an ability to perform the threatened act or intent to actually carry out the threat.

When it comes to Complex Fraud Defense Lawyers in Florida, extortion distinguishes between those crimes committed by a private person and those committed by a public officer. Public officers include lawyers with state-issued licenses, police officers, peace officers, state officials, and court clerks.

Blackmail via the Internet
In the state of Florida, the laws make no specific provisions for crimes committed online, except for in cases of virus-spreading or hacking according to most criminal defense lawyers. Having said that, Chapter 836.05 does state that any threat, including blackmail, made “verbally or by a written or printed communication” is considered to be a criminal offense. This means that any threats sent through electronic means like social media or email could be considered as ‘written communication’ and therefore be punishable to the same extent as offline blackmail crimes.

Time Limit to Report the Crime
According to Florida Fraud Lawyer Moore, blackmail is a second-degree felony. Time is of the essence to bring an extortionist to justice, as the law states that prosecution for a second-degree felony must commence within three years of the felony’s occurrence. It is important that a victim reports the crime to the authorities within 3 years of it having occurred, for prosecutors to be able to press charges against the perpetrator. However, if the accused resides outside the state of Florida, the prosecution may take up to an additional three years to press charges.

Penalties and Sentences
Since blackmail is second degree felony in the state of Florida, a conviction can result in a fine in an amount up to $10,000, and/or term of imprisonment for up to fifteen years. If the criminal qualifies as a habitual felony offender or has a prior record with prior felonies, the state may request an increased punishment.

William Ryan Moore is a Complex Fraud Defense Lawyer in Broward County Fort Lauderdale. He is available to discuss any defense issue pertaining to Fraudulent Acts or White Collar Crime without a consultation fee.