Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- The crime of obtaining money or property by threat to a victim's property or loved ones, intimidation, or false claim of a right (such as pretending to be an IRS agent). A direct threat to harm the victim is usually treated as the crime of robbery, however. Extortion is a felony in all states. Blackmail is a form of extortion in which the threat is to expose embarrassing and damaging information to family, friends, or the public.