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The money paid to or demanded by someone in exchange for the release of a kidnapped person or stolen property. It may also refer to the verb of demanding or paying the money to release the kidnapped person. In California, the act of kidnapping and demanding ransom is a crime referred to as “aggravated kidnapping,” and People v. Ibrahim lay out four fact situations which show this crime: “(1) the primary victim is abducted and held while ransom is demanded from a secondary victim; (2) the kidnap victim is not moved but the secondary victim is; (3) neither victim is moved; and (4) the kidnap victim is held to induce police officers to refrain from resisting and stopping the defendant's criminal acts.”

[Last updated in November of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]