The definition of blackmail is when someone threatens to reveal damaging information about another person unless they are paid money or given something else of value. This type of behavior is illegal in many states and can result in serious consequences if caught and convicted. So, is blackmail illegal in Massachusetts? Let’s dive into what exactly constitutes blackmail and the potential legal repercussions for this crime.
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Is Blackmail Illegal in Massachusetts?
Yes, in Massachusetts, blackmail is very illegal and includes two elements: fear and coercion. First, the threatener must create fear in the victim through one or more threats that will cause harm or damage to their reputation, career, relationships, or freedom if not carried out. Second, the threatener must demand something from the victim — such as money or personal property—in exchange for keeping their secrets safe. If these two elements are present, then it may constitute blackmail.
A person can also be charged with criminal harassment on top of blackmail, and extortion. Criminal harassment is when someone willfully and maliciously engages in conduct toward another person, which would lead that person to be seriously alarmed and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. If convicted this is punishable by up to two and a half years in a house of correction and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Consequences of Committing Blackmail in Massachusetts
If you have been charged with blackmail in Massachusetts, you may face a felony charge depending on the severity of the case and your criminal history. Penalties for committing this crime can range from fines to a prison sentence of up to 15 years, two and a half years in a house of correction, or a combination of imprisonment and a fine. This is depending on how much damage was caused by the perpetrator’s actions. It is important to note that even if you did not make any demands after making a threat, you could still be charged with attempted blackmail which carries its own set of penalties as well.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of Massachusetts blackmail?
If you are a victim of online blackmail in Massachusetts, there are certain steps that you should take right away:
- Stay Calm – It is important not to panic if you find yourself in this situation as it will only make matters worse. Try and remain cool and collected while assessing your options and deciding on your next move;
- Gather Evidence – It is essential that you gather as much evidence against the person who has threatened or attempted to extort something from you as possible so that they can be held accountable for their actions;
- Contact Law Enforcement – Once you have gathered all necessary evidence against the perpetrator(s), contact local law enforcement immediately so that they can begin their investigation into the matter;
- Seek Legal Advice – Once law enforcement has been notified, seek legal advice from a qualified attorney on how best to proceed with taking action against those involved to ensure justice is served;
No one should ever have to experience the trauma associated with being victimized by blackmailers and have to question if blackmail is illegal in Massachusetts — or anywhere else for that matter! That said, if unfortunately, this does happen to you, it’s essential that you take action quickly and responsibly by contacting law enforcement authorities and seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney before making any decisions about how best to proceed with taking action against those involved. Additionally, you can also make a report to us here at Digital Investigation. We are a cybersecurity company that specializes in cybercrimes, such as blackmail. Don’t wait any longer, give us a call today!