A New Blackmail Scam Spreads in Florida
The FBI’s Jacksonville division has issued a warning to Florida residents regarding a blackmailing scam circulating throughout the state. The scammer anonymously contacts individuals telling them that they have evidence of adultery, and demands payment to keep their silence.
The scammer threatens to tell the recipient’s spouse, family, and friends if their demands are not met. They typically ask for payment in Bitcoin, a digital currency, to avoid detection. The FBI reports that they have received numerous complaints regarding this scam over the past few weeks.
Blackmail and extortion can incur severe penalties if found guilty. If you are facing extortion charges in Florida, seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced criminal defense firm can help explain the allegations and gather evidence to fight on your behalf.
Florida Extortion Laws
Blackmail, or extortion, is a term used to describe a criminal offense in which someone uses threats, coercion, or intimidation to convince someone to do something. Blackmailers use these tactics to compel a victim to give them money or other valuables, or to perform an action.
Florida Statute Section 836.05 defines extortion as a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies in Florida are punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to a $10,000 fine. These consequences are serious and should be handled alongside a criminal defense lawyer.
To bring a conviction, prosecutors must prove two elements: a threat was present, and the defendant acted with intent. Various actions can be considered a “threat” under Florida law. Threats can include physical, psychological, and financial intimidation tactics. Blackmailers may also threaten harm to reputation, reveal a secret, or accuse the victim of a crime. Florida courts have ruled that “threat” does not necessarily have to mean physical injury.
In addition to proving a threat, prosecutors must also show that the defendant had the intent to compel the victim to act against his or her will. Florida law does not need the plan to be carried out for it to be sufficient evidence.
Blackmail Attorneys in Florida
If you are charged with a crime, you should always contact a skilled defense lawyer before admitting guilt or entering a plea. Without an attorney present, officers may try to coerce you into a confession, thus limiting your options moving forward.
The attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience fighting criminal charges and are eager to help you today. Our expert team of Orlando criminal lawyers has provided representation for a variety of crimes throughout Florida, so we know how to navigate the law. We work with you to get the best results possible. Call us to speak with an attorney today. Our phones are open 24/7.