Articles Posted in Extortion and Revenge Porn

In two back-to-back cases involving extorters blackmailing their targets from outside New York State, one of whom was abroad, Saland Law’s Jeremy Saland, along with Sage Intelligence Group’s Herman Weisberg, shut down callously selfish harassers from syphoning more money from our clients after these victims wizened up and retained the “‘A-Team’ of ex-lawmen extracting victims from blackmail ploys”. Beyond putting an end to their thieving ways, both bad guys, yes, men posing as women, licked their wounds and profusely apologized for the error of their ways after being ferreted out from their wrongfully presumed shadowed corner of the internet.  Very simply, upon being confronted with the grave consequences of their actions no matter where they hid, these men made it overwhelmingly clear, and repeatedly so, that their threats and demands were no more.

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While it is not atypical for a victim of Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, or some other fraud scheme to summon the courage and fortitude to stand up to the campaign of terror waged by his or her abuser, there is a reason you do not hear much about these extortees turning to law enforcement out of concern of the obvious: what embarrassed or humiliated them so much, true or not, will ultimately find its way into the public arena. That said, similar to a catfishing Blackmail matter I brought on behalf of a victim to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that resulted in the extortee’s indictment, conviction, and incarceration for scheming our client and other men she met on an online adult site, Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District Of New York, along with the FBI, announced the indictment of Sakoya Blackwood for Catfishing, Sextortion, and Blackmail. Like the case referenced above, it is alleged Blackwood targeted high net worth men with public profiles in order to maximize her ill gotten gains.

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Already recognized as part of the Extortion fixing “A-Team” by the NY Daily News, I was grateful Business Insider further highlighted my Blackmail protection work with Sage Intelligence Group’s Herman Weisberg. To that end, I appreciated their recognition that Saland Law, along with Sage Intelligence, is a leader and “gold standard” among a very small and finite number of attorneys and investigators in New York, and elsewhere, possessing both the legal foundation and hands-on experience to ethically extinguish these violative shakedowns. Safeguarding CEOs, hedge funders, private equity partners, Big Law attorneys, top physicians, celebrities, and media personalities from Extortion, Sextortion, Blackmail, Revenge Porn, and Stalking, and doing so within the four corners of the law, is not a job left to green attorneys or those with enough knowledge to endanger their clients. Unfortunately, as many an extortee learns far too late, once mistakes are made, whether by a blackmailee or their lawyer, those missteps are often as indelible as the regret that shadows them in perpetuity. That is why it is no surprise that many victims of these schemes retain Jeremy Saland and Saland Law to end the illegal money grab and relentless threats of personal, financial, familial, and career decimation that stalk them.

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Little did I know that after prosecuting three men for blackmailing former NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony all the way back in 2004-2006 during my days as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, that my experience leading that investigation into Grand Larceny by Extortion would become the catalyst to develop a niche practice representing Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, Stalking, Harassment, and Revenge Porn, victims. Whether as a “fixer” handling cases outside the criminal justice system due to a client’s desire to keep matters private and from the public eye, and always within the four corners of the law, or presenting our cases “pre-packaged” to prosecutors leading to an indictment and even incarceration, having the knowledge and legal foundation to pursue these matters discretely has provided both emotional and financial relief to literally dozens upon dozens of clients over the years. In fact, in the past week and a half alone I have assisted three individuals, two of whom collectively paid out north of $60,000.00 to their extorters before contacting me, and another who, with his parents, reached out to Saland Law, PC before his life went sideways.

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It is incredibly frighting to find yourself the target of Blackmail, Extortion, or Coercion in New York City or anywhere inside or outside the Empire State. Whether you’ve done something wrong or not, when a harasser demands property – usually money – or that you engage in behavior you otherwise need not, fear can drive your decision-making process to a ruinous end. After all, should you fail to acquiesce, your attacker will make good on his or her threat to obliterate your life or career through humiliation, misrepresentations, or even something far worse. As Extortion lawyers and victim advocates protecting men and women from Blackmail, Stalking, Harassment and other defamatory type assaults, the attorneys at Saland Law PC have dealt with and quashed these real-life scenarios firsthand.

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Despite the tumultuous times we find ourselves with the polarization of our nation due to the presidential election and day to day uncertainty of the COVID world we live, one thing has remained steady. The criminal lawyers , family court attorneys, Title IX counsel, and victim advocates at Saland Law PC continue to secure the results our clients have come to expect while also receiving recognition for their experience, knowledge, and advocacy. From Liz Crotty and Jeremy Saland’s Super Lawyer designation in the area of criminal law for metro New York City, the American Bar Association’s publication of Jeremy’s article, “Revenge Porn and the First Amendment”, and his presentation to a Cardozo Law School class, Liz’s continued strides in her efforts to represent the People of the State of New York as Manhattan’s next Democratic District Attorney, and favorable dispositions of numerous matters inside and outside the criminal justice system, Saland Law PC’s actions and results once again speak for themselves.

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Similar to Penal Law 245.15,  NYC Administrative Code 10-180(b)(1) is the crime of Revenge Porn within the confines of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. Both of these offenses, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image and Unlawful Disclosure of and Intimate Image, are misdemeanor statutes and provide for civil prosecutions and law suits as well. Irrespective of which charge is pursued, the law mandates prosecutors to plead certain elements. Specifically, AC 10-180, formerly AC 10-177*3, requires that a “covered recipient” discloses an “intimate image” without the consent of the “depicted individual.” Further, the wrongful sharer or poster must have an objective to cause economic, physical or substantial emotional harm to the depicted person and that individual must be identifiable either because it is clear in the image or from the circumstances the same was disclosed. Without parsing out all of the definitions and legally defined terms, People v. Ahmed, 2018BX038930, demonstrates the legal minimum standard the District Attorney must set forth in a complaint to survive a defense lawyer’s motion to dismiss and the necessity that a “covered recipient” is established within the four corners of the accusatory instrument.

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Although there may be victims and their advocates who will argue it does not go far enough, with the passage of New York Penal Law 245.15, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image (awaiting the Governor’s signature) police departments and District Attorneys throughout the State of New York will have the ability to prosecute certain types of actions that fall under the umbrella of Revenge Porn crimes. Similar to NYC’s Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, Administrative Code 10-177*3, this new statute would allow victims to pursue their alleged abusers criminally in a NY Criminal Court as well as in a Civil Court by establishing the means for a private right of action – a lawsuit – pursuant to Civil Rights Law 52-b. Equally important, a violation of Penal Law 245.15 would also constitute a Family Offense thereby potentially allowing a petitioner to secure a Family Court Order of Protection without the arrest of their alleged tormentor.

Whether you are a victim or an accused, before you find yourself on either end of a Criminal, Family or Civil Court proceeding, educate yourself on the law, consult with your counsel or lawyer, and take the steps to protect yourself going forward.

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As miserable as it likely was for Kristaps Porzingis to play for the perennially cellar-dwelling New York Knicks, the current Dallas Maverick’s All-Star forward is in the type of foul trouble that outweighs any he experienced at Madison Square Garden. Either a victim of Extortion and Blackmail or a man on the precipice of an arrest for a heinous Rape crime, the “Unicorn” finds himself playing both offense and defense as the game clock is expiring.

If what alleged is true, forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse by a threat or use of physical force – defined as “forcible compulsion” in the New York Penal Law – is not only a statutorily identified “violent crime” of First Degree Rape, but exposes a person to registration as a sex offender upon conviction. Alternatively, if the complainant’s allegation was nothing but a money grab to unjustly enrich herself, then in lieu of find himself with handcuffs slapped on his wrists, 7’3” Latvian can steal the ball of public opinion and the criminal justice system and demand that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office prosecute his accuser for Second Degree Attempted Grand Larceny by Extortion in violation of New York Penal Law 110/155.40.

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The terms are somewhat interchangeable and, for that matter, if you are a crime victim it is relatively inconsequential how the New York Penal Law defines a particular offense. After all, your goal is clear. How do I prevent my tormentor from harassing and threatening me whether its online or offline? Although the questions are many – do I want to file a criminal complaint, petition for and get an Order of Protection in Family Court, hire a lawyer to shut down my blackmailer to keep it out of the public eye – as long your abuser committed some criminal act, you have avenues to protect yourself in or out of New York’s criminal justice system. While the links below addresses your remedies and the means by which you can stop a perpetrator of Revenge Porn, Sextortion, Cyber Harassment, Online and Offline Stalking, Extortion, Coercion and Blackmail, this blog entry is more limited in its scope. That is, what is the difference between Blackmail, Extortion and Coercion?

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