2012 GUIDELINES MANUAL
CHAPTER TWO - OFFENSE CONDUCT
PART B - BASIC ECONOMIC OFFENSES
3. ROBBERY, EXTORTION, AND BLACKMAIL
§2B3.3. Blackmail and Similar Forms of Extortion
(a) Base Offense Level: 9
(b) Specific Offense Characteristic
(1) If the greater of the amount obtained or demanded (A) exceeded $2,000 but did not exceed $5,000, increase by 1 level; or (B) exceeded $5,000, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to that amount.
(c) Cross References
(1) If the offense involved extortion under color of official right, apply §2C1.1 (Offering, Giving, Soliciting, or Receiving a Bribe; Extortion Under Color of Official Right; Fraud Involving the Deprivation of the Intangible Right to Honest Services of Public Officials; Conspiracy to Defraud by Interference with Governmental Functions).
(2) If the offense involved extortion by force or threat of injury or serious damage, apply §2B3.2 (Extortion by Force or Threat of Injury or Serious Damage).
Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 873, 875-877, 1951. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).
1. This section applies only to blackmail and similar forms of extortion where there clearly is no threat of violence to person or property. "Blackmail" (18 U.S.C. § 873) is defined as a threat to disclose a violation of United States law unless money or some other item of value is given.
Background: Under 18 U.S.C. § 873, the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for blackmail is one year. Extortionate threats to injure a reputation, or other threats that are less serious than those covered by §2B3.2, may also be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 875-877, which carry higher maximum sentences.
Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 114); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 479); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 617); November 1, 2005 (see Appendix C, amendment 679).