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The crime involving a threat for purposes of compelling a person to do an act against his or her will, or for purposes of taking the person's money or property.

The term blackmail originally denoted a payment made by English persons residing along the border of Scotland to influential Scottish chieftains in exchange for protection from thieves and marauders.

In blackmail the threat might consist of physical injury to the threatened person or to someone loved by that person, or injury to a person's reputation. In some cases the victim is told that an illegal act he or she had previously committed will be exposed if the victim fails to comply with the demand.

Although blackmail is generally synonymous with Extortion, some states distinguish the offenses by requiring that the former be in writing.

Blackmail is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.




n. the crime of threatening to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful or damaging facts (or rumors) about a person to the public, family, spouse or associates unless paid off to not carry out the threat. It is one form of extortion (which may include other threats such as physical harm or damage to property). (See: extortion)


noun exaction, extortion, hush money, illegal compulsion, oppressive exaction, protection, ransom, shakedown, taking by undue exercise of power
See also: coercion, compel, extort, extortion, graft, hush money, threaten


in English law, a person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces and for this purpose menaces are unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief that he had reasonable grounds for making the demand and that the use of menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand. For Scotland, see EXTORTION.
References in periodicals archive ?
The blackmailing case came to light following the death of a Kollam-based businessman identified as Ravindran.
BEIRUT: The police arrested a man Friday suspected of harassing minors on the Internet and blackmailing them into having sexual relations with him.
Rose, who denied blackmailing Ecclestone, was included in an email mentioning the possibility of discussing "a non-release fee" and signing a confidentiality contract.
Two men have pleaded not guilty at Southwark Crown Court to blackmailing the daughter of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Text messages on his cell phone showed that he was also blackmailing other girls.
A SCOTS socialite denied blackmailing a member of the Royal Family yesterday.
Driza was found guilty of stealing two sexy videos from Khan - who became her lover - but cleared of blackmailing him.
Brazilian cleaner Roselane Driza, who worked illegally for both the judges, faces jail and deportation after she was convicted at the Old Bailey of blackmailing a female immigration judge ( known in court as J ( who employed her.
A woman appeared in court yesterday charged with blackmailing the owners of a guinea pig farm which was at the centre of a hate campaign by animal activists.
A 34-YEAR-old man will appear before Wrexham Magistrates this morning charged with blackmailing a Holywell man.
If I thought I could get ahead in the industry by blackmailing, I'd be all over it," says Arquette.
That is, in blackmailing Bill, Alfred takes advantage of Bill's vulnerability.