Extortion: New York’s Grand Larceny with a Twist

Whether you are in Manhattan, White Plains or Brooklyn, there is no statute titled “Extortion” in New York. Instead, Extortion is a “type” of Grand Larceny, but just a Grand Larceny none the less. In other words, an individual charged with this crime would be charged on an indictment which read Grand Larceny under the theory of Extortion.

Under Penal Law Section 155.05, larceny occurs when a person with intent to deprive another of property or appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds such property from an owner. Larceny can be conducted through numerous means including, trick, false promise, acquiring lost property, and yes, extortion.

Extortion is defined, in part, as when a person induces or compels another to deliver property to himself or a third person be means of instilling in him fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor or another will cause physical injury to some person in the future, cause damage to property, engage in conduct constituting another crime, accuse some person of a crime, expose a secret, or conduct other specified activities.

Although Extortion can be charged as a Grand Larceny solely on the value of the property received (an “E” felony punishable by up to 4 years in state prison through a “B” felony punishable by up to 25 years in state prison), there are two specific provisions in the New York State Penal Law that deal with this crime. Penal Law section 155.30, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Penal Law Section 155.40, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, both address Grand Larceny by Extortion. The degrees of Grand Larceny in the statute are not exclusive of one another and can be charged in the same indictment under different theories.

There are certain requirements that an indictment alleging extortion must have in order to stand up against a motion to dismiss regardless of how strong the facts are. As a former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau I personally supervised the multi-million dollar extortion attempt of NBA basketball star Carmelo Anthony and I am well versed in the applicable law and requirements associated with this crime – and the way to defeat an indictment if applicable. If you or a loved one is charged with Grand Larceny under the theory of Extortion, you owe to yourself to seek out experienced counsel who can vigorously defend your rights.

For further information regarding Extortion and the various sections of the Penal Law, please read our most recent article.

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