Theft by Extortion, N.J.S.A. 2c:20-5

Theft by Extortion, N.J.S.A. 2c:20-5, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, blackmail, criminal defense, drunk driving, payola, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerHave you experienced a bitter breakup or falling out with another person? Did the drama seem to escalate like a soap opera with no end in sight? News reports indicate Toms River cops recently arrested an ex-boyfriend of Jenni “JWoww” Farley with extortion. The authorites claim the man threatened to divulge secrets about her to the media unless he received $25,000. The cops also claim he communicated the threat through Farley’s publicist. Oddly, the police publicized this on Instagram of all places! Any reasonably intelligent person will foreseeably wonder what the secrets entailed. But the police omitted them.

Nevertheless, the so-called news release from the police includes the arrest of this man after a brief investigation. Unsurprisingly, however, the cops concealed the evidence about this man that the investigation purportedly revealed. Even though the Instagram post concludes with a blerb about the presumption of innocence, this propaganda implies wrongdoing by the defendant without any factual basis.

Now here is the rub. The Instagram post claims the police charged him with extortion. But New Jersey law does not prohibit extortion. Instead, New Jersey law prohibits theft by extortion. Accordingly, the threat alone is not a crime. And if one believes the social media and news hype, the defendant did not receive any property from JWoww. Of course, it is arguable how substantial a step the State must prove to convict a defendant for attempted theft by extortion. In all events, however, these inaccuracies should weaken the State’s case in the jury of public opinion.

Theft by Extortion, N.J.S.A. 2c:20-5

Under New Jersey law, a person is guilty of theft by extortion if he purposely and unlawfully obtains property of another by extortion. A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

  1. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
  2. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
  3. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
  4. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
  5. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
  6. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
  7. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

Thus, in order to convict an individual of theft by extortion, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant obtained property (1) of another, (2) purposely and unlawfully, (3) by extortion.

Did the cops charge you with a crime?

New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Theft by Extortion under N.J.S.A. 2c:20-5.