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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.



West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
The Palestinian complainant said she wired him the money once but complained to the police when he blackmailed her a second time demanding more money.
After Nagata reported to police that he was blackmailed, his embezzlement was uncovered during the course of investigations into the blackmail, they said.
To counter the response that these are cases in which the blackmailees are being blackmailed only into not doing something, Mack suggests that the factory owner might be blackmailed into donating money for Cambodian relief (278).
Unlike conventional theft, where the victim is likely to announce the violation of an antitheft norm, the blackmail victim is likely to conceal his blackmailer's norm transgression, so as to preserve the secret for which he is being blackmailed. Thus, norms are less able to deter blackmail than simple theft.
In the months following the verdict in which he convicted Nawaz Sharif, the judge was shown a video (presumably the 'Multan video') after which he was blackmailed to do something favourable for Nawaz Sharif.
Many were blackmailed over their photographs posted on social media platforms, he added.
In April, police in Gujranwala arrest a college student who made fake accounts on social media in the names of girls and blackmailed them.
The husband of the blackmailed woman now wants all five priests defrocked.
He retrieved deleted date from customers mobile phones and then blackmailed them,' the FIA official said, adding that a case has been registered and the detainee would be produced in court today.
blackmailed her and threatened to post her images on Facebook if she did not pay him money.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) has freed a woman from a person who had blackmailed her for 20 years.
A mother-of-three who ran into financial problems when her marriage broke down blackmailed a 65-year-old man and claimed he sexually abused her over many years, a court was told yesterday.