• Extortion

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Extortion Lawyer Fort Worth

If you or a loved one has been accused of extortion — a serious federal crime that is prosecuted aggressively in Texas — you need an experienced and aggressive extortion lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth now. 

The defense lawyers at Westfall Sellers are experienced in defending extortion cases in both state and federal cases. You only have one shot to secure your freedom, so choose your legal representation wisely. Steep penalties and your reputation are on the line.

Texas extortion laws: what is extortion?

The legal definition of extortion in Texas doesn’t differ from that of most states. While extortion is covered by Texas’ consolidated theft statute, extortion is generally recognized to mean the demanding of money or property through force or threat of violence, reputational damage, property damage, or unlawful action against the government There are a few common ways in which extortion can occur.

Types of extortion

What are some common types of extortion? There are many ways in which a person can commit extortion, but most of them fall into the following categories.

Threats

Threats are the essential elements of an extortion case. In order to prove that extortion has been committed, it must be provided that a threat was made with the intent of gaining something of value, usually money or property.

Some common threats that indicate extortion has been committed are:

  • Threatening to cause damage to a person or their property
  • Threatening to cause damage to a person’s business or reputation
  • Threatening general violence towards a person
  • Threatening arrest or imprisonment
  • Threatening to deny the person services or assets
  • Threatening to testify against a person
  • Threatening to refuse to testify on a person’s behalf

Blackmail

Blackmail is a well-known type of extortion that involves threatening reputational damage through the revealing of damaging information to the general public or loved ones of the victim. Blackmail, like all forms of extortion, involves a threat and the intent to gain money or property.

Cyber extortion

Committing extortion does not have to involve physical violence, in fact, it doesn’t even require direct communication. Threatening anyone’s person, property, business, or reputation using telecommunications is extortion all the same. Phone, emails, and social media are all common ways in which extortion schemes are carried out, but Ransomware is an even more common form of modern-day extortion that involves holding someone’s accounts or data hostage until a fee is paid. 

If you have been accused of cyber extortion, you need a defense lawyer who specializes in cybercrimes. The cybercrime lawyers at Westfall Sellers are well-versed in the complexity of cybercrime cases and have experience building strong defenses for clients accused of cyber extortion and online bank fraud.

Continue reading: What is bank fraud?

What is the penalty for extortion in Texas?

Is extortion a felony in Texas? Like most financial crimes and property-related crimes in Texas, the severity of the penalties scale with the amount of money involved in the crime. The higher the value of the money or property allegedly extorted, the more severe the penalty. Some provisional penalties, subject to change based on criminal history and other circumstances, are:

Value of goods extortedChargeFinesJail time
Up to $100Class C MisdemeanorUp to $500None
$100 – $750Class B MisdemeanorUp to $2,000Up to 180 days
$750 – $2,500Class A MisdemeanorUp to $4,000Up to one year
$2,500 – $30,000State jail felonyUp to $10,0006 months – 2 years
$30,000 – $150,000Third-degree felonyUp to $10,000Up to five years
$150,000 – $300,000Second-degree felonyUp to $10,000Up to 20 years
$300,000 and upFirst-degree felonyUp to $10,000Up to life in prison

White collar crime sentencing is complex. If you have been accused of extortion or another financial crime related to money or property, you should speak with an experienced lawyer to get an idea of the penalties you could be facing.

Common defenses in extortion cases

The federal defense lawyers at Westfall Sellers have experience defending everything from extortion to federal conspiracy cases. While defending extortion can be a difficult prospect, there are defenses to extortion charges. 

  • Insufficient evidence 
  • False accusations 
  • Lack of intention to commit extortion
  • Proof that threat, fear, or force were not used
  • Proof of incapacity (which can include insanity or intoxication)
  • Mistaken identity

It is not uncommon in extortion cases that illegal methods such as illegal search, coercion, or interrogation were used to obtain evidence or testimony, but you’ll need an experienced and innovative lawyer to get to the bottom of it.

Need an extortion lawyer in Fort Worth? Call the federal lawyers at Westfall Sellers today.

If you have reason to believe that you are under investigation for extortion, or any other financial crime, you need an aggressive extortion lawyer in Fort Worth to begin building your defense now. If you have received a phone call from a state or federal agency, or been visited by a federal agent, do not say anything, and call the attorneys at Westfall Sellers.

Greg Westfall, founding partner of Westfall Sellers, is known for his critical analysis of complex white-collar crimes and is not afraid to take complex cases to trial. Call Westfall Sellers at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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