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Blackmail or extortion, which can be used interchangeably, pursuant to the 1942 Illinois Supreme Court opinion in People v. Mahumed, is an unlawful act of one party such as intentionally threatening, accusing of crime, injuring the other party’s property, or exposing secrets if the demands from a person or group are not met, in exchange for money or other things that are significantly valuable to them. See Model Penal Code § 223.4.

[Last updated in January of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]