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BLACKMAIL IS ILLEGAL! If she is truly blackmailing you, you may wish to go to your local law enforcement agency and file a police report. Make sure that you bring a copy of all of her e-mails that show her blackmail attempts as well as any telephone messages that you may have and any texts that you may have saved. If your case is assigned to a detective, s/he will gather all necessary information. If the detective believes that there is enough evidence to prosecute her, the detective will present the case to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor authorizes charges, then she will face criminal penalties
In general, extortion, also known as blackmail, describes a threat made in order to take another person's money or property, or to compel another person to act or not act. The threat must be sufficient to overcome the victim's free will. Extortion and robbery are distinct crimes because robbery generally requires an immediate threat of physical harm at the time when the perpetrator takes the property, while extortion simply requires a threat at any time.
In Florida, a state prosecutor must establish several elements to prove an extortion case:
- Threat: The prosecutor must prove that the defendant made a verbal or written threat. The threat might imply physical harm death, or even psychological harm to the recipient of the threat, to another person, or to property, if the victim does not comply. Alternatively, the defendant might threaten to reveal a secret, accuse the victim of a crime, or otherwise harm the threatened person's reputation. Under Florida law, the defendant may threaten to do either an unlawful or lawful act. Extortion can include the threat of a legal act, as long as the prosecutor can show that the defendant acted maliciously.
- Intent: The prosecutor must show that the defendant had an intent to gain financially, receive property, or otherwise compel the victim to do any act against the victim's will. However, Florida law does not require an intent to actually carry out the threat or an ability to perform the threatened act.
In order for charges to be authorized against her, the prosecutor must believe that s/he can prove the above elements of the crime BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.
Even if there are no charges authorized, you may be able to sue her in small claims court for breach of contract if you are willing to sue her for $5,000.00 or less. By the time you get an attorney (and you will most likely need one) and pay filing fees and service fees in your county's civil court, you may wish you had sued her for the $5,000.00 in small claims court!
Below is a link to the self help page for small claims court in Florida. It has hyperlinks to all of the court rules and the "how to's" of small claims court.
For a breach of contract to occur, a legally enforceable agreement must exist between the parties. Under Florida law, a contract is defined as a promise or set of promises, which are legally enforceable and for which the law gives a remedy. Generally speaking, a contract is formed when three elements exist: (1) an offer, (2) an acceptance, and (3) consideration (a bargained for exchange of something that has legally recognizable value).
In Florida, a legal action for breach of contract consists of three primary elements. The Plaintiff (the non-breaching party brining the legal action) must establish: (1) that a valid contract was formed between the parties; (2) that the other party failed to perform as required under the contract; (3) damages resulted from the alleged breach.
If a breach of contract is established, the plaintiff is entitled to the recovery of “damages.” Damages are the typical remedy sought in a breach of contract action. The standard measure of damages (sought in most contract cases) is known as “Expectation Damages.” Expectation damages are the cost of obtaining a substitute performance. The goal here is to put the non-breaching party into the position she would have been in had the breaching performed in accordance with the agreement. Other damages that may be available in a breach of contract action include reliance damages, restitution damages, consequential damages, liquidated damages, and specific performance. The particular type of damage that may be pursued by a Plaintiff will depend on the nature of the agreement and the facts of the individual case.
I hope you find this information useful.
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