Utah and Theft by Extortion

There are different definitions of extortion, but today we’re covering what the state of Utah considers theft by extortion, which is one form of theft.

Photo: Miranda Granche

Extortion = Blackmail

When you attempt to extort the property of another person, thereby gaining control of that person’s property, you are committing a crime. It might be helpful to think of extortion as blackmail. A Utah man has recently been arrested because he allegedly attempted to extort money and/or sex from another Utah man.

A Current Example of Extortion

The story began when the two men met using craigslist and started communicating, with one man sending the other (the one who’s been arrested) some type of photos and the two eventually meeting and having consensual sex. That’s not the reason the man was arrested, however.

Apparently, the first man decided he wanted to end the relationship and that’s when the problem started. The second man told him he either had to pay him with money or money and sex or he’d tell the first man’s fiancée, BYU (where he was attending school), family—well, you get the picture.

The BYU student went to police and with their help he offered the man money for the photos. The man was arrested on investigation for extortion and attempted forcible sodomy.

Definition of Extortion in Utah

In the Utah Code’s section of Theft by Extortion, extortion is defined as occurring when a person threatens to:

• cause physical harm to the person, another person or property
• subject the threatened person to confinement or physical restraint
• engage in other conduct that would be a crime
• accuse a person of a crime
• expose a person to hatred, ridicule or contempt
• share information about the person that he or she is trying to conceal
• testify or provide information about another person’s legal claim or defense
• withhold testimony or information about someone’s legal claim or defense
• take action as an official against someone
• bring about a strike, boycott, etc.
• do something that would not substantially benefit the extortionist but would substantially harm another person or their job, health, reputation and so forth

The Criminal Charge for Extortion

In other words, there are many ways a person can commit extortion in Utah. Whether or not the man we told you about will be charged with extortion, and what level of crime that would be is up to the local prosecutor.

You Should Contact a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are concerned about any criminal charges that have been or may be brought against you by law enforcement, don’t hesitate to contact a Utah criminal defense attorney. This type of situation requires thoughtful, immediate action, and you will want the best defense available on your side. Make that important phone call today.


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