What is the Law on Extortion in Alaska and what are the Punishments for it?
Extortion is a serious criminal offense therein, irrespective of the element of violence or use of force, the offender uses coercive means and compels other individuals against their will to provide the offender with undue and illegal procurement or access to property, money, services, or favors. A test of coercion is that the said transaction of property, money, services, or favors is neither necessary nor legally permissible.
In many states of the US, Blackmail, and extortion are used interchangeably, while in some States they are distinguished on the basis of completion of transaction and nature of the threat i.e. extortion mandates the completion or immediate imminence of the underlying transaction while blackmail may or may not involve completion of the transaction and blackmail specifically involves threats that are based on the disclosure of incriminating information of the victim, which is criminal in nature, could jointly convict victim and perpetrator as co-conspirators.
The Statutory law of Alaska identifies elements of blackmail within the definition of extortion and removes involuntary services, and favors from it, i.e. view blackmail as a type of extortion. As stipulated in AS § 11.41.520, the said Law of Alaska defines Extortion as a Class B felony wherein the offender is deemed guilty of:
- Secures ownership or possession of a property(anything of value) of another by threatening another person, whether it is the owner or possessor of the property or some other person, who’s well-being or advice has influence over the owner or possessor of the property.
- The threat may be that of:
- Inflicting a physical injury, exclusive of threats which form part of the criminal offense of robbery or other crimes that specifically prescribe nature of threats within their laws.
- Inflicting any other harm which does not result in benefits incidental to the harm caused.
- Act or withhold an act of disclosing information which may be confidential or incriminating, providing testimony or sanctioned action of a public servant.
- Falsely accusing another of a crime.
- Initiating or persisting with the unofficial collective action of strikes, boycotts, protests etc wherein possession of the property and not the actual demands of the said protest are used as a means to bargain settlement.
- Imminent harm if the victim does not seek the protection of the offender in the form of a payable service wherein the offender gains ownership or possession of a property.
- The property of another refers to any property wherein another person has an interest and the offender has no privilege to infringe on that interest. It does not include such property which is in possession of the offender but the accuser only has a security interest in the said property.
It is pertinent to note that the element of threats is sufficient to qualify as extortion, but the element of violence is not explicitly included in the Statute. Secondly, possession of the property of another by threats is the only cause of prosecution and if the threats are used to solicit services or favors which do not result in unlawful property transactions, the crime is identified as coercion or harassment, but not extortion.
Punishment for Extortion
Extortion is a Class B Felony, is prescribed various punishments under AS 12.55.155 — 12.55.175: in the following manner:
- Imprisonment of 0-2 years for a 1st-time felony unless the victim is minor, in which case:
- 2-4 years if the victim is under the age of 16 years.
- 1-3 years if the victim is over 16 years of age.
- Imprisonment of 2-5 years for a 2nd-time conviction.
- Imprisonment of 4-10 years for a 3rd-time conviction.