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New York Grand Larceny by Extortion or Blackmail

The New York Penal Code includes extortion as a type of larceny. Larceny is defined as wrongfully taking, obtaining, or withholding the property owned by another. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05(1). In other words, larceny is stealing. Theft can be accomplished in many different ways, including by extortion. Extortion, commonly referred to as blackmail, occurs when you force another person to give you property by instilling fear in that person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05(1). This type of theft is considered so serious that it is classified as grand larceny, a felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(6). This means that if convicted, the possible sentence would be at a minimum more than 1 year in prison, and at worst, years in prison. For this reason, if you are accused of grand larceny by extortion or blackmail, you should immediately contact a New York Grand Larceny by Extortion or Blackmail Lawyer who will explain to you your legal options and provide you with guidance and support throughout the criminal process.

In New York, a charge of larceny can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. The misdemeanor larceny charge is petit larceny that carries a possible sentence of no more than a year in jail. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.25. In general, if the value of the property at issue is $1,000 or less, then the charge will be petit larceny. However, there are several exceptions to this general rule. One exception is where the theft is accomplished by extortion. What distinguishes extortion from other types of theft is that extortion involves the threat of injury or harm. The threat that is involved in a scheme of extortion or blackmail may include:

  • Threat of physical injury
  • Damage to property
  • Committing a crime
  • Exposing a secret
  • Cause a labor strike
  • Testify or withhold testimony
  • Another other act that would harm another person
N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05(e)

When extortion or blackmail is involved, the charge will not be petit larceny, but will be grand larceny which is a felony. This distinction is significant as a felony charge involves a sentence of at least 1 year in prison and could involve many more years in prison.

Extortion will at a minimum result in a charge of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony that carries a sentence of up to 4 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(6). Grand larceny in the second degree is the charge for extortion schemes that involve instilling a fear of physical injury, damage to property, or that requires the abuse of the office of a public servant. Grand larceny in the second degree is as a Class C felony that carries a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.40.

To be charged with extortion it is not necessary that the threat of harm be directed at the same person from whom property was taken. It is only required that you wrongfully acquire the property that belongs to another because of a threat. Furthermore, the property does not have to be money. In addition to money, under the statute, "property" is also defined as personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, a thing in action, evidence of debt, evidence of a contract, gas, steam, water, electricity or anything else of value. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(1).

The consequences of a grand larceny conviction are significant. In addition to spending years in prison, once you are released you will have a criminal record that will impact the rest of your life. Because so much is at stake as soon as you learn that you have been accused of grand larceny by extortion or bribery, it is important to seek representation from someone who understands the New York Penal Code. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with various theft crimes such as grand larceny, petit larceny, robbery, and credit card fraud, as well as those who have been charged with other crimes such as drug possession, criminal mischief, and murder. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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