Extortion and Corruption Lawyers
New York based federal criminal attorneys with Joseph Potashnik and Associates have successfully represented numerous clients accused of extortion and public corruption activities under the Hobbs and Travel Act. We have years of experience handling complex federal cases at all stages of litigation.
Public corruption is among the prime targets of law enforcement. Most commonly, such criminal cases involve public officials receiving bribes, kickbacks, or presents in return for services and benefits available to the recipient. Both accepting and offering bribes are considered to be criminal activities, and both parties can be convicted of corruption by simply asking or offering a bribe.
Extortion of various types is primarily combatted by the government with the Hobbs and Travel Act. Although originally this legislation was focused on addressing labor racketeering, today it applies to many categories, including white-collar and business crime cases as well as extortion in the commercial setting.
Federal Extortion Criminal Statute
The Hobbs Act deals with interstate robbery and extortion. To put it in simpler terms, it is a federal offense to perpetrate (or attempt) robbery or extortion that affects interstate or foreign commerce. The main problem with this set of laws is that it may actually include in one way or another practically any business practice, and the government has sweeping power to combat such offenses under the statute.
One of the most important aspects is the fact that violations of this federal criminal statute don’t have to involve actual violence as long as the intimidation and instilling the fear in the victim are involved and the victims had a reasonable fear for economic loss.
The Hobbs Act
Although under this piece of legislation robbery and extortion are not the same as public corruption and bribery, their prosecution may still be within its jurisdiction. As a result, the statute is used to prosecute public officials who are accused of all sorts of corruption, since obtaining the property using the status of a public official is a form of extortion.
When prosecuting public corruption, the officials need to provide evidence that an accused public official has received an unsanctioned payment in return for official acts. And unlike other extortion cases, in this case the state is not obligated to provide any evidence that an accused person has taken any actual steps to induce the extortionate payment.
And in most US federal courts, it is still considered an extortion under the Hobbs act if the public official didn’t obtain any benefits, as long as a third party benefited from it.
Apart from public officials, individuals can also be criminally liable under the Hobbs Act for making corrupt payments to the officials and as co-conspirators.
The Travel Act
Title 18 US Code ß 1952 was initially passed as part of the government’s war on organized crime. It criminalizes travel in interstate or foreign commerce or the use of any facility in interstate or foreign commerce in unlawful activities.
The most important element of the Travel Act is the use of an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce. Prosecutors also need to prove that the interstate or foreign commerce was used with the intent to distribute proceeds of, further or otherwise promote a specified unlawful activity; they also must prove that there was some act in furtherance of the illicit activity specified in the statute.
If you are investigated by the federal government for extortion or public corruption in New York or anywhere else in the country, you need not just a good criminal lawyer but an experienced federal defense attorney who has handled similar cases before. You will find such attorneys at Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC. Here is the list of some of the recent extortion cases our criminal lawyers have handled.
We represented a defendant in Brooklyn federal court who was charged with violent extortion of a business owner, overturning conviction on appeal.
We represented multiple New York City officials accused of accepting bribes and other types of corruption.
Our client was a political figure investigated by the federal government for corruption.
We have the necessary knowledge, experience, and resources to offer you the most effective defense against extortion charges in New York. Call us today at (212) 577 6677 to set up an immediate consultation.