Whoever, being an officer, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, or representing himself to be or assuming to act as such, under color or pretense of office or employment commits or attempts an act of extortion, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; but if the amount so extorted or demanded does not exceed $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
18 U.S. Code § 872 - Extortion by officers or employees of the United States
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 171 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, § 85, 35 Stat. 1104).
Words “or any department or agency” were inserted to eliminate any possible ambiguity as to scope of section. (See definitive section 6 of this title.)
The punishment provided by section 171 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., of fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or both, was increased for offenses involving more than $100 to conform to Congressional policy reflected in later Acts. See section 4047(e)(1) of title 26, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Internal Revenue Code, and the punishment provision following paragraph (10) of said subsection.
1996—Pub. L. 104–294 substituted “$1,000” for “$100”.
1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $5,000” after “extortion, shall be” and for “fined not more than $500” after “he shall be”.
1951—Act Oct. 31, 1951, changed punctuation to make section applicable not only to persons falsely representing themselves as Federal officers or employees at the time of extortion or the attempt thereof, but also to Federal officers and employees who attempt or commit extortion under color of office or employment.