Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent … induced by a wrongful use of force or fear. California Penal Code 518. Fear, for purposes of extortion may be induced by a threat, either to accuse the individual threatened of any crime; or, to expose, or impute to him any deformity, disgrace or crime. California Penal Code 519. Also, every person who, with intent to extort any money or other property from another, sends or delivers to any person any letter or other writing, whether subscribed or not, expressing or implying, or adapted to imply, any threat such as is specified in Section 519, is punishable in the same manner as if such money or property were actually obtained by means of such threat. California Penal Code 523. Demanding that the victim reveal the victim's PIN code for the victim's ATM card is extortion.

Extortion criminalizes the making of threats that, in and of themselves, may not be illegal. Philippine Export & Foreign Loan Guarantee Corp. v. Chuidian (1990) 218 Cal. App. 3d 1058, 1079, 267 Cal. Rptr. 457.

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