2021 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 8 - Offenses Involving Theft
Article 1 - Theft
§ 16-8-16. Theft by Extortion

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-8-16 (2021)
  1. A person commits the offense of theft by extortion when he unlawfully obtains property of or from another person by threatening to:
    1. Inflict bodily injury on anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
    2. Accuse anyone of a criminal offense;
    3. Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule or to impair his credit or business repute;
    4. Take or withhold action as a public official or cause an official to take or withhold action;
    5. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective unofficial action if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or
    6. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense.
  2. In a prosecution under this Code section, the crime shall be considered as having been committed in the county in which the threat was made or received or in the county in which the property was unlawfully obtained.
  3. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraph (2), (3), (4), or (6) of subsection (a) of this Code section that the property obtained by threat of accusation, exposure, legal action, or other invocation of official action was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstance to which such accusation, exposure, legal action, or other official action relates or as compensation for property or lawful services.
  4. A person convicted of the offense of theft by extortion shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

(Code 1933, § 26-1804, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 16.)

Cross references.

- Venue generally, Ga. Const. 1983, Art. VI, Sec. II, Para. VI and § 17-2-2.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Tort action in favor of victim not created.

- Although O.C.G.A. § 16-8-16 establishes the public policy of the state, nothing within its provisions purports to create a private cause of action in tort in favor of an alleged victim. Rolleston v. Huie, 198 Ga. App. 49, 400 S.E.2d 349 (1990), cert. denied, 198 Ga. App. 898, 400 S.E.2d 349 (1991).

Demurrer properly granted.

- Trial court properly granted the defendants' general demurrer as to the conspiracy to commit extortion count because the alleged extortion was based on a mere threat to file a lawsuit and there was no allegation that the threatened litigation was somehow unlawful; thus, the defendants could have admitted to all of the allegations and still have been innocent of that crime. State v. Cohen, 302 Ga. 616, 807 S.E.2d 861 (2017).

Lesser included offense.

- Theft by extortion is not a lesser included offense of armed robbery, as a matter of law; however, it may merge with armed robbery as a matter of fact. Lewis v. State, 261 Ga. App. 273, 582 S.E.2d 222 (2003).

Evidence sufficient for conviction.

- Evidence was sufficient for a rational jury to convict the defendant of theft by extortion because evidence was presented that the defendant and the defendant's accomplices took speakers from the victim's van after the defendant threatened that the victim's friend would never see the victim again unless the friend left the van and the van's keys at a gas station. Taylor v. State, 302 Ga. App. 54, 690 S.E.2d 641 (2010).

Extortion not shown.

- Debtor's claim that extortion, as defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-8-16, had been committed by a bank and the bank's director and was therefore a predicate act for purposes of the debtor's civil racketeering claims was without merit since the debtor admitted that the bank's foreclosure on some of the debtor's property was prompted by the debtor's failure to repay loans taken out for that property and, as such, the foreclosure was lawful. Tucker v. Morris State Bank, F.3d (11th Cir. Nov. 14, 2005)(Unpublished).

Cited in Partain v. State, 129 Ga. App. 213, 199 S.E.2d 549 (1973); United States v. Romano, 482 F.2d 1183 (5th Cir. 1973); Sanders v. State, 135 Ga. App. 436, 218 S.E.2d 140 (1975); Brooks v. State, 141 Ga. App. 725, 234 S.E.2d 541 (1977); Quillan v. State, 160 Ga. App. 167, 286 S.E.2d 503 (1981); Harper v. State, 249 Ga. 519, 292 S.E.2d 389 (1982); Bramblett v. State, 191 Ga. App. 238, 381 S.E.2d 530 (1989); Best Jewelry Mfg. Co. v. Reed Elsevier Inc., 334 Ga. App. 826, 780 S.E.2d 689 (2015).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 31A Am. Jur. 2d, Extortion, Blackmail and Threats, §§ 1 et seq., 22 et seq., 35 et seq., 53, 61 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 35 C.J.S., Extortion, § 1 et seq.

ALR.

- The boycott as a weapon in industrial disputes, 116 A.L.R. 484.

Evidence of acquisition or possession of money, source of which is not traced, as admissible against defendant in criminal case, 123 A.L.R. 119; 91 A.L.R.2d 1046.

Extortion predicated upon statements or intimations regarding criminal liability, in connection with attempt to collect or settle a claim which defendant believed to be valid, 135 A.L.R. 728.

Criminal offense of obtaining money under false pretenses, or attempting to do so, predicated upon receipt or claim of benefits under insurance policy, 135 A.L.R. 1157.

What constitutes "loss from theft" within provisions of Internal Revenue Code concerning deduction of losses arising from theft, 62 A.L.R.2d 572.

Evidence of acquisition or possession of money, source of which is not traced, as admissible against defendant in criminal case, 91 A.L.R.2d 1046.

Criminal liability of corporation for extortion, false pretenses, or similar offenses, 49 A.L.R.3d 820.

What constitutes "property" obtained within extortion statute, 67 A.L.R.3d 1021.

Retaking of money lost at gambling as robbery or larceny, 77 A.L.R.3d 1363.

Embezzlement, larceny, false pretenses, or allied criminal fraud by a partner, 82 A.L.R.3d 822.

Truth as defense to state charge of criminal intimidation, extortion, blackmail, threats, and the like, based upon threats to disclose information about victim, 39 A.L.R.4th 1011.

Injury to reputation or mental well-being as within penal extortion statutes requiring threat of "Injury to the Person,", 87 A.L.R.5th 715.

What constitutes tax-deductible theft loss under 26 USCS § 165, 98 A.L.R. Fed. 229.

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