PC 523 – Extortion by Threatening Letter

Extortion by Threatening Letter

Extortion by Threatening Letter – Table of Contents

PC 523 – Overview

What is Extortion by a Threatening Letter as defined under California Penal Code 523?

In reference to any medium of communication sent to another not done verbally: Any person who alone, or with the assistance of a delivering aid sends a letter or writing, no matter if it is signed, to another, which references a communication to trigger extortion described in Penal Code 519i; or facilitates Ransomware into another’s PC, laptop, notebook , or MAC as described in Penal Code 520 as a method with instructions equating to extortion- and the letter or Ransomware achieves an act that would not have been achieved without it.

What is the level of fear required to equate to Extortion by a Threatening Letter under California Penal Code 523?

Fear can imply serious acceptance of a threat when the threat implies an attempt: to do an unlawful injury to a person or a piece of property rightful owned by another; to accuse another of a crime; to expose another to disgrace, lack of chasteness, deformity, to report unlawful immigration status that is subject to deportation when there is a lawful right to correct the status.

PC 523 – Prosecuting

What is Ransomware as described under California Penal Code 523?

Ransomware is any computer program or software used to tamper, interfere, damage, or gain unlawful access to a computer, computer data or computer systems owned by individuals, businesses, or governmental agencies whether that computer is a phone, PC, MAC, server, laptop or notebook.iv Ransonware is otherwise known as an unauthorized contagion that restricts the access of an authorized person to a computer system, computer or computer network; the purpose of the Ransonware is to restrict access in exchange for the restricted party to be forced to yield and provide a deprivation of consideration of materiality to the detriment of another. For purposes of Penal Code 523 that level of deprivation is listed in Penal Code 519v.

What if the letter or ransomware depicts an attempt of other crimes like Robbery or Carjacking by having the deposition or the property or consideration passed on to another in public is it chargeable solely under Penal Code 523?

The act is still chargeable under Penal Code 529, rather than under Penal Code 211 or Penal Code 215; so long as the receiving party does not utilize physical force to obtain the personal property or automobile that is valued more than $10,000- then the crime is elevated to a felony requiring 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison.

What is Extortion as defined under California Penal Code 523?

Extortion is the forceful retainment or acquisition of a secret, consideration, claim of right, goods, services, or sexual favors by force. The nature of the force can derive by way of threats to accuse another of a crime, threats to expose a committed crime, threats to disgrace another to any public medium, or threats of sexual conduct.

What kind of threat or force is required as defined under California Penal Code 523?

The threat or force utilized must be the dominant reason for the consent to provide a right that is otherwise considered a deprivation. Force can either be expressed or implied.

Is threatening to do something that a person has a legal right to do another considered extortion as defined under California Penal Code 523?

No this is not considered an unlawful injury or deprivation.

Can consent be provided after the act of extortion to remedy the wrong to avoid a violation of California Penal Code 523?

No- unless there is material documentation of the victim accepting the retraction of the force attempted to be used, followed by remedies of harmony to conduct the same act would be necessary to show acquiescence.

What is a secret as defined under California Penal Code 523?

A secret is a fact that is: unknown to the public or that is of interest to another of significance to the party to whom can be affected by the secret being released. The secret must have the potential to: harm the person’s reputation, force sexual conduct, promote an official act or prompt another to give money out of despair.

What is sexual conduct as defined under California Penal Code 523?

Forced sexual conduct can include:

  • sexual intercourse and or penetration
  • masturbation
  • sadomasochistic abuse for the stimulation of another
  • exhibition of the genitals
  • submission to defecation or urination

What are genitals as defined under California Penal Code 523?

Genitals are intimate body parts, including breasts when reference to females specifically, any portion below the top of the areola (portions that are typically covered or not visible through clothing), and the anus for both men and women.

What is an official act as defined under California Penal Code 523?

An official act is an act done by another in their official capacity using the authority vested to them by a public office.

Is California Penal Code 523 specific intent crime?

Yes. Extortion requires the specific intent to deprive.

Can a business entity (501-3c or LLC, LP, S Corp) be charged with a violation of California Penal Code 523?

Yes- if the nature of the business derives from the use of force, and it is expected that force is a material part of the activities involved in the business.

PC 523 – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Penal Code 523?

A violation of California Penal Code 523(a) can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value extorted, and the nature of the injury sustained. If the value extorted does not exceed $950 the act is charged as a misdemeanor. If the value extorted does exceed $950 the act is charged as a felony. If the method of the extortion causes injury or great bodily injury the act is charged as a felony.

The exposure of confinement for a violation of California Penal Code 523(a) as a misdemeanor is no more than 1 year in State Jail. The exposure of confinement as felony can be categorized confinement of 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in State Prison unless 1 year of jail time or alternative punishment can be negotiated prior to preliminary hearing and preferably during pretrial.

A violation of California Penal Code 523(b) can be charged as a misdemeanor, or a felony dependent of the circumstances used with the ransomware what was extorted and its value.

If the Ransonware the accused installed can be traced to the accused; and it is alleged that the accused either used the Ransonware to: directly destroy data on a computer; make copies of data that is external to the computer associated with the install; destroy a passcode or access to an internal or external computer that is associated with the computer installed; disrupt commerce by stalling business network; disrupt commerce by stalling a government network; disrupt commerce by stalling a public safety network; disrupt commerce by stalling an authorized user from accessing a public safety network.

As stated if the disruption causes a loss less than $950 then it is chargeable as a misdemeanor with confinement no more than 1 year of jail; if the disruptions as specified cause a loss of $950 or more then the confinement equates to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison.

If Ransomware is used and causes the computer installed to perform in malfeasance and the act is resulting in damages to its infrastructure of less than $950, then the act is chargeable as a misdemeanor with confinement not exceeding 1 year in State Jail; but if the computer performance of malfeasance results in damages to its infrastructure of more than $950, then the act is chargeable as a felony with confinement of either 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison.

Also assuming no knowledge of intent of another by the accused and: the installer as was provided a means for access by the accused; or the installer was provided direct access by the accused, or the installer was either provided a means or direct access by the accused; the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. As stated if the means or access by the accused results in disruption causing a loss of less than $950 then it is chargeable as a misdemeanor with confinement no more than 1 year of jail; if the disruptions cause a loss of $950 or more then the confinement equates to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison.

If knowledge can be presumed: and the disruption causes a cost less than $950 then it is chargeable as a misdemeanor with confinement no more than 1 year of jail with fines exceeding $5,000; if the disruptions as specified equal a cost of $950 or more then the confinement equates to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison with fines exceeding $10,000.

If the accused provided an installer of Ransomware to a domain name; URL; or passcode to social media to install the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Since the violation might warrant financial loss it is a financial crime, and restitution might be required.

What is an example of a violation of California Penal Code 523?

Jackie really liked Sampson but did not think she needed to tell him. What do you expect, she sits on the Board of Directors of the company that he works for as the Vice President, he was being groomed for a Director seat. Plus Jackie was the only woman on the Board of Directors. Jackie mailed Sampson a letter with the statement, “ New Ferragamo heels for my vote ”. The letter came in the form of Ransomware. Sampson soon discovered the custom letter, when he turned on his iPhone and tried to send an email to a colleague. The program requested Sampson click a button that displayed the statement with lipstick in the background. Sampson was unable to use his phone and he had a big investor meeting the next day. He was in a panic. When he came to his office, he met Jackie sitting in his office chair with her legs kicked up on his desk. She was a pointer to her heels, and wrote on a sheet of paper, “I need new Ferragamo 10k heels please” on a sheet of paper and held it up to him with a smirk. As he tried to motion her to get up with by touching her, she started screaming “RAPE”. Dorthy, Sampson’s assistant, was the first to enter the room. Jackie told her to call the police. She did what Jackie asked because she was an assistant, and she was a Corporate Whale. When the LAPD arrived. Dorthy stated that Jackie was trying to extort sexual favors from a man who is equivalent to an ordained minister. Jackie did not know that Dorthy dates Sampson’s younger brother and frequents his house after Sunday Mass. Jackie was escorted out of the office without handcuffs. Dorthy and Sampson followed the LAPD outside to confirm his decision to pursue prosecution against Jackie. The LAPD Computer Crimes Unit during their investigation confiscated Sampson’s phone, the letter written by Jackie, and her heels, after an investigation, Jackie was later arrested at home.

PC 523 – Defending

What are the defenses for a violation of California Penal Code 523?

  • Lack of Identity to associate with any act of extortion.
  • Lack of Identity to associate with any act of ransomware.
  • Lack of the Specific Intent to Deprive.
  • Duress.
  • Mistake in fact as the conduct was conducted in the frame of a novelty or joke.
  • Lack of appreciable fear due to a course of dealings as the victim and accused equally have course of dealings of a sick sense of humor and use extreme jokes and pranks with each other.
  • Lack of deprivation.
  • The conduct was a legal right obtained by legal possession both actual or constructive.

PC 523 – Hiring a Lawyer

If you are charged with a violation of California Penal Code 523, call Esfandi Law Group, APLC.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
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Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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