Criminal Law

Robbery, Extortion, and Blackmail - Basic Economic Offenses

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§2B3.2GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 875(b), 876, 877, 1030(a)(7), 1951. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:

"Abducted," "bodily injury," "brandished," "dangerous weapon," "firearm," "otherwise used," "permanent or life-threatening bodily injury," "physically restrained," and "serious bodily injury" have the meaning given those terms in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §1B1.1 (Application Instructions).

"Critical infrastructure" means systems and assets vital to national defense, national security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination of those matters. A critical infrastructure may be publicly or privately owned. Examples of critical infrastructures include gas and oil production, storage, and delivery systems, water supply systems, telecommunications networks, electrical power delivery systems, financing and banking systems, emergency services (including medical, police, fire, and rescue services), transportation systems and services (including highways, mass transit, airlines, and airports), and government operations that provide essential services to the public.

"Government entity" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(9).

2. This guideline applies if there was any threat, express or implied, that reasonably could be interpreted as one to injure a person or physically damage property, or any comparably serious threat, such as to drive an enterprise out of business. Even if the threat does not in itself imply violence, the possibility of violence or serious adverse consequences may be inferred from the circumstances of the threat or the reputation of the person making it. An ambiguous threat, such as "pay up or else," or a threat to cause labor problems, ordinarily should be treated under this section.

3. Guidelines for bribery involving public officials are found in Part C, Offenses Involving Public Officials. "Extortion under color of official right," which usually is solicitation of a bribe by a public official, is covered under §2C1.1 unless there is use of force or a threat that qualifies for treatment under this section. Certain other extortion offenses are covered under the provisions of Part E, Offenses Involving Criminal Enterprises and Racketeering.

4. The combined adjustments for weapon involvement and injury are limited to a maximum enhancement of 11 levels.

5. "Loss to the victim," as used in subsection (b)(2), means any demand paid plus any additional consequential loss from the offense (e.g., the cost of defensive measures taken in direct response to the offense).

6. In certain cases, an extortionate demand may be accompanied by conduct that does not qualify as a display of a dangerous weapon under subsection (b)(3)(A)(v) but is nonetheless similar

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