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extortion racket meaning of extortion racket in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

extortion racket meaning
extortion racket meaning

Recognizable forms of extortion include blackmail or a shakedown. The crime of extortion is defined as obtaining something of value through coercion. While extortion is a form of theft, it differs from the crime of robbery because the threat does not pose an immediate danger to the victim. Obviously, since criminal organizations operate rackets, they are illegal. For example, fencing is illegal in all countries, but proving it is difficult.

Rodriguez left the case up to his legal team, but no further legal action took place. A woman claiming to be Bill Cosby’s daughter attempted to extort the comedian of 40 million dollars in 1998. The woman, Autumn Jackson, threatened to give her story to a tabloid if Cosby didn’t pay her. Cosby knew of Jackson and had been paying for some of her educational expenses, although he denied that she was his daughter. At one point, Jackson said that she was out of money, so Cosby sent her an additional $3,000. Jackson started by asking for 40 million dollars, and eventually settled for 24 million.

For instance, interviews conducted with business owners in ethnic communities in New York City found that most admitted to being approached by gangs for money, goods, or services and that most of these businesses paid what was asked. In other locations around the world, as many as four-fifths of all businesses have paid some form of extortion, but the numbers vary. An example of racketeering might include a gang acquiring money through murders, money laundering, drug trafficking, and home invasion robberies. RICO conspiracy charges could be levied against gang members committing the crimes.

And they collect millions of dollars by greatly exaggerating the size and danger of such groups, becoming a massive extortion racket. Federal crimes lead to prosecution at both the federal and the state levels. Prosecutors can charge someone through RICO if they commit at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after RICO became law and the last of which occurred within 10 years after the prior act. RICO allows law enforcement officials to file cases against an entire racket. The law allows prosecutors to seize the assets of an indicted party, thereby preventing the transfer of funds and property through shell companies.

Racketeering activity covers a range of crimes that involve committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or intentionally aiding, soliciting, coercing, or intimidating another person to commit a specified list of crimes. Among these, felonies include gambling activities, extortion, drug offenses, weapons offenses, murder, assault, prostitution, hazardous waste violations, securities violations, coercion, money laundering, arson, bribery, and forgery. Providing more tools to law enforcement agencies to combat racketeering, the law allows prosecutors to charge organizations or individuals for up to 20 years of ongoing criminal activity for each count of racketeering. The law also allows prosecutors to charge organization leaders for crimes that they ordered others to commit.

Extortion and Racket

Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Racketeers typically are well-connected through informal associations or formal organizations (e.g., the Mafia) or an international organization with links to a crime syndicate. provides general information related to the law and lawyers designed to help users safely cope with their own legal needs.

extortion racket meaning

All of these kinds of extortion are serious crimes that can carry a lengthy prison sentence. An organized illegal activity, such as bootlegging or the extortion of money from legitimate business people by threat or violence. Organized groups may operate illegal businesses, known as rackets. An organized group may also divert funds from a legal business to use for illegal activities. Rackets primarily functioned in obviously illegal industries, such as prostitution, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal weapons trade, or counterfeiting. There is no precise estimate of the extent of extortion racketeering, although empirical studies have been done on the topic.

Degrees of Extortion

Ten people have been arrested on charges of running an extortion racket in the town. Officials and corporate executives from FIFA were indicted in 2015 for racketeering conspiracy and corruption charges that involved bribes and kickbacks paid to secure profitable media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments. Extortion and robbery seem similar, but the difference between the two is that extortion requires the perpetrator to make a threat verbally, or in writing, robbery does not. Robbery often makes use of immediate threats of violence, and actual force in order to gain something from another person.

Jurisdiction – The legal authority to hear legal cases and make judgments; the geographical region of authority to enforce justice. Felony – A crime, often involving violence, regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor. Felony crimes are usually punishable by imprisonment more than one year. On rare occasion, extortion cases can be pled down to misdemeanors, the penalties for which may be fines, probation, community service, and restitution. Imprisonment in the local jail for less than one year may also be imposed.

  • The practice of extorting money or other property by the use of force or threats.
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  • The group or individual usually sends a company a threatening email stating that they have received confidential information about their company and will exploit a security leak or launch an attack that will harm the company’s network.
  • These identical twin brothers and their gang, the Firm, terrorized the Big Smoke in the mid-20th century.
  • Organized groups may operate illegal businesses, known as rackets.

When we think of the term organized crime, we might only think of a Sopranos-esque mob. While that is partially true, organized crime can mean any group of criminals who plan to engage in criminal activity, usually for profit. Well, that’s what’s called racketeering—but racketeering can refer to many different kinds of illegal activity. Government prosecutors primarily used the Act to target organized crime and criminal organizations when it was enacted.

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin dismissed the countersuit in December 2012. Lopez and Manoukian settled their dispute out of court in February 2013. However, in an unprecedented series of events, Jackson was released after serving 14 months of a 26-month sentence. A three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals overruled the sentence, saying that the judge in the trial had incorrectly instructed the jury. But that same panel then reversed their decision a year later, citing a Supreme Court decision on jury instruction that was ruled just one day after their initial reversal. She and her co-conspirator, Jose Medina, were arrested outside of Cosby’s lawyer’s office after signing a settlement.

Many people have heard the name but might not know exactly what it is. It stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and it came into law on October 5, 1970. A numbers racket is notably less violent, if not more legal, than a protection racket. It is essentially an illegal lottery which operates mostly out of working-class and low-income neighborhoods in the United States. This includes the bookies who receive the bets in betting parlors. These can be a dedicated location or can operate illegally out of bars, cafes, barbershops, and other gathering places.

Words related to racket

Nintendo notified authorities and the man was arrested in Málaga. No information has been revealed as to what the man demanded from Nintendo. In 2009, Cindy Crawford was the target of an extortion attempt by German model Edis Kayalar. Kayalar had a photo of Crawford’s daughter that she threatened to make public, and Crawford’s husband, Rande Gerber, paid him $1,000 to stay quiet. However, Kayalar demanded more money, so Crawford and Gerber went to the police.

In an extortion racket the racketeers agree not to attack a business. State crimes violate the laws of a particular state and are investigated by local, state, or county police. Kidnapping, robbery, and assault are considered state crimes, provided they occur within the boundaries of a particular state. Extortion laws vary by state, with many states using degrees of extortion to classify the severity of the crime.first degree extortion usually involves the perpetrator making threats of physical harm or confinement, such as kidnapping. It has been found in some cases that victims are willing to pay extortion to powerful organized criminal groups for protection in order to avoid being extorted by a continuing series of individual criminals or local gangs.

The practice of extorting money or other property by the use of force or threats. Two former Baltimore police officers pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in July 2017. The law permits enforcement agencies to charge individuals or groups involved in various acts of racketeering. Individuals guilty of committing RICO crimes may be prosecuted and, if found guilty, can face a 20-year prison sentence or more for serious crimes. Labor unions have also been a frequent target of racketeering allegations. Organized crime groups generally use one or more labor unions to extort money from a company or contractor.

Famous Cases of Extortion

Two days after the second ransom note, a third note arrived at the family’s attorney’s office demanding that the Lindberghs’ replies be published in the local newspaper, rather than communicated through a third party. After a total of 13 notes, an increase in ransom to $100,000, then a decrease and payoff of $50,000 to a man named “John,” the child was not produced.

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The perpetrator, Kelly Frank, pled not guilty but received a sentence of 10 years in prison. With the help of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Letterman met with the blackmailer and gave him a fake two-million-dollar check. The man who was extorting Letterman was Joe Halderman, a extortion racket meaning writer, director, and producer for CBS News. Ironically, at the time of the arrest, Halderman was a producer for the true-crime series 48 Hours. Halderman pled guilty to grand larceny in the second degree and received a sentence of six months in jail followed by five years of probation.