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EXTORTION - RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY - FORGERY

Extortion (or blackmail) differs from robbery in that the threats, stated or implied, that cause the victim to give money or property to the offender are not threats of immediate violence but rather threats of future harm. The intimidation might involve violence-for example, a threat to kill or injure the victim or a member of the victim's family. Alternatively, the intimidation might consist of a threat to accuse the victim of a crime or to reveal a devastating secret about the victim.

Receiving Stolen Property: Buying or receiving property that is known to have been stolen by another person is a crime. Receiving means to take under control. Stolen property is property that has been taken by larceny or, in some jurisdictions, property obtained by embezzlement or false pretenses. Under the common law definition of this crime, the receiver must be certain or almost certain-in other words, be more than merely suspicious-that the property is stolen. Proof of the purchaser's knowledge may be inferred from circumstances, such as time and place of delivery. For example, if a man purchases a discounted stereo from an individual selling home electronics out of a van parked in an alley at midnight, these circumstances may contribute to a finding that the purchaser had sufficient reason to know the property was stolen.

Forgery: A person commits forgery if he or she makes a false writing or materially alters a genuine writing that either has legal significance or is commonly relied upon in business transactions. A writing includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, or engraving. A painting, for instance, does not qualify as a writing. To be guilty of forgery, the person must intend to defraud someone by his or her action. Unlike the property crimes considered above, there is no requirement that any victim lose property or money. It is enough that the forger makes the false writing with the fraudulent intent. Examples of documents with legal significance are a check, promissory note, stock certificate, bond, deed, mortgage, will, and contract. Examples of documents used in business are an invoice and a letter of recommendation. The forger's act often consists of signing the name of a real or fictitious person (not the forger's own name), filling in a blank, or materially altering what is already written.

The crime of uttering a forged instrument consists of offering a forged document as true and genuine, knowing it to be a forgery, with an intent to defraud. Thus, a person who did not actually commit the forgery may be guilty of uttering.

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