Blackmail, shakedowns, protection money—crimes of extortion—characteristically take place when someone threatens violence demanding money or property. But extortion is not limited to threats of violence, the crime of extortion also occurs when a government official [elected or an appointed] demands money and/or property in exchange for an official act.
In order to secure a successful extortion prosecution, investigators must be mindful they need to prove that any money and/or property taken was done so by someone using threats of fear, force, or violence and/or under the color of law. Accordingly, in an extortion case prosecutors generally must prove:
- A defendant induced or attempted to induce a victim to relinquish property and/or rights;
- A defendant used or attempted to use a victim’s reasonable fear of economic loss or physical injury and/or acted under the color of law in an effort to demand money and/or property;
- A defendant’s conduct actually/potentially affected, delayed and/or obstructed foreign or interstate commerce; and,
- A defendant’s actual or threatened use of fear, force or violence and/or act under the color of law was wrongful.
FBI Special Agents are adept working both national and international extortion cases. Conducting investigations, investigators should:
- Gather evidence concerning the alleged extortioner threat—including the nature of the offense, e.g. when and how did the threat take place, what or how much money was demanded, when/where any monetary exchange was to take place, and whether the demand was made under threat of economic loss, violence and/or the color of law.
- Document the alleged extortioner threat, providing appropriate direction developing the case.
- Be mindful that the media will be interested reporting the crime.
Directory members can be extremely helpful to anyone seeking information and/or requiring a professional opinion concerning extortion. Accordingly, looking for an expert concerning extortion—please draw upon the website’s search feature, entering the appropriate skill, issue, or need, as well as the geographical area of preference to make contact with an FBI specialist.
Retired FBI Agents and Analysts interested in securing a Directory listing and/or a personal email address should submit a brief online application requesting membership to join the website.
Agents with Extortion skillset
- Charlotte F. Braziel
- Robert (Bobby) Chacon
- Dennis J. Franks
- Danny A. Defenbaugh
- Peter D. Yachmetz
- Myron R. Fuller, CFE, FSO
- Douglas R. Kane
- Patrick J Murphy
- Thomas W. Raftery III
- Joseph J. Pelcher
- Harry Garcia
- Patrick M. Conley
- Todd K. Hulsey
- Charles J. Walsh
- Dennis P. Joyce
- James T. Bagwell - Special Agent
- Herbert Cousins, Jr
- Gregory M. Vecchi, Ph.D.
- Hilary C. Jenkins
- Jeffrey L. Rinek
- Keith D. Tolhurst
- James K. Ellis, CFE
- Edward C. Shaw
- Jeffrey A. Danik
- Daniel Bellich
- Joseph R. Lewis