Extortion is a criminal offense, which occurs when a person obtains money, behaviour, or other goods and/or services from another by wrongfully threatening or inflicting harm to his person, reputation, or property. Euphemistically, refraining from doing harm is sometimes called protection.
Blackmail is one kind of extortion -- specifically, extortion by threatening another's reputation with the disclosure of incriminating statements (true or false) about him. Even if it is not criminal to disclose the information, it constitutes extortion to demand money or other consideration not to disclose it. 
Extortion is distinguished from robbery. In robbery, the offender steals goods from the victim whilst threatening him with force. In extortion, the victim willingly turns the goods over to avoid a threatened violence or other harm.
The term extortion is often used metaphorically to refer to usury or to price-gouging, though neither is legally considered extortion. In the United States, some Libertarians and Objectivists have described taxation as a form of "extortion".
United State Federal Definition of Extortion is: The term "extortion" means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.
Last updated: 10-11-2005 18:59:22
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46