A 52 year old Chelsea man has been ordered held on $25,000 bail for charges of trying to extort $150,000 from a Framingham man, according to an article in the MetroWest Daily News. On Tuesday, January 8th, the defendant pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion, threatening to commit a crime, and making harassing phone calls.
The defendant reportedly told the alleged victim that the alleged victim owed him money due to a land deal involving the alleged victim’s father in Brazil. The defendant and several of his friends reportedly began calling the alleged victim in 2011, demanding money. The defendant also allegedly created a website, claiming that the alleged victim was a criminal and was wanted for murder in Brazil.
The alleged victim reportedly paid the defendant $3,000 in January 2012 out of fear. The defendant reportedly began calling the alleged victim again, demanding $150,000. The defendant reportedly told the alleged victim that he had contacts in Brazil who would kill the alleged victim’s family and also that he would kill the alleged victim and his family. If the defendant posts bail, he has been ordered to surrender his passport and not to contact the alleged victim and/or his family.
Under Massachusetts law, Extortion is defined as the malicious threat to accuse another of a crime; or any person of authority unlawfully using his powers, with intent to extort money or any pecuniary advantage, or with intent to compel any person to do any act against his will. To prevail on the extortion charges, prosecutors will have to prove that the defendant engaged in written, verbal, or printed communication; that the communication constituted a threat; that the threatening communication was undertaken maliciously; that the threat was to accuse another person of a crime or offense, or to do injury to the person or property of another; and that the threat was undertaken with the intent to extort money or other pecuniary advantage, or to compel another to do an act against his or her will. The prosecutors in this case have many elements to prove to prevail on their charge of extortion against the defendant.
If the defendant is convicted of these charges, he will be facing up to fifteen years in prison or up to two and a half years in a house of correction, or a fine of up to five thousand dollars, or both.
To prove that the defendant made threats against the alleged victim, prosecutors will have to prove that he had the intention and ability to commit a crime, which would justify the alleged victim’s fear. If the defendant is convicted of threatening to commit a crime, he is facing fines and possible jail time.
Finally, to prevail on the harassment charges, prosecutors will have to prove that the defendant engaged in a pattern, or committed a series of harassing acts over time. If convicted of harassment, the defendant is facing up to two and a half years of incarceration, as well as fines.
Anyone facing such serious charges needs a serious and committed Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer.
If you or a loved one is facing charges of extortion, making threats, or harassment, contact me at Cappetta Law Offices today for a free discussion of your situation.