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Is it considered extortion if a person threatens someone else for money that they actually owe to that person?

Tampa, FL |

My sister n law was arrested for threats verbally/written/ or printed with the intent to extort money or compel a person. Only she asked for money that was actually owed to her. Is that still considered extortion?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Under Florida Statute 836.05 the definition for Extortion is as follows;
    Whoever, either verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse another of any crime or offense, or by such communication [maliciously threatens an injury to the person], property or reputation of another, or maliciously threatens to expose another to disgrace, or to expose any secret affecting another, or to impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another, with [intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatsoever], or with intent to compel the person so threatened, or any other person, to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will, shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree.

    Certainly more facts would be warranted for a more concrete answer but the statute does not require money to be legally owed or not. The statute looks more to whether you're forcing someone to pay you against their will via a threat (violence for example).

    Please feel free to contact my office if you wish to discuss the issue in more detail. I'd be happy to speak with you.

  2. If the debt is legal it should not be extortion, but each case is different and each case depends upon its own unique facts. In order to answer this question we would need to know a lot more of the facts. If money was owed to her and she went over and demanded it while brandishing a shotgun, it could be extortion.

    R. Jason de Groot, Esq., 386-337-8239

  3. It seems as if there is a huge portion of the story you may be omitting. We would need to know more of the story to adequately opine.

    Please be advised that answering your questions does not establish an attorney-client relationship with myself or my firm. 407-588-6714