Jacksonville’s citizens have friends, pets and other things that they fear to lose. Unfortunately for some, people prey on these fears and will attempt to extort money from them. Unfortunately for many, however, people are accused of extortion that never committed a crime. One accused of a crime such as this should obtain an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected
According to the Florida Times-Union, an unknown suspect allegedly attempted to extort money from a Palatka man who lost his dog, Blue, as well as two other dogs that were later found. The attempted extortion was said to occur after owner Steve Pinder received word that someone had the dog and was demanding reward money in exchange for the dog. The accused extorters allegedly made threats against Pinder at an attempted exchange, after which Pinder drove away empty-handed; Blue has yet to be located.
Jacksonville animal cruelty crimes typically involve a desperate pet owner who wants nothing more than to see their beloved animal back with them again, particularly when that animal is lost and alone. However, the economy has caused people to look for money wherever they can get it. Because of this, extortion crimes have risen, causing more and more people to suffer at the hands of those whose intent is not really to personally harm, but to make a financial gain.
However common and unimportant extortion may be becoming within the scope of animal recovery and rescue, the penalty for such a crime is tremendous. Under Florida Statute 836.05, extortion is a second degree felony that carries with it up to fifteen years in prison, plus an excessive amount of fines, legal fees, and time that one can never get back.
Even though many are guilty of extortion, many times, the accused is the actual victim of a false accusation. Many times, the accused is merely the good neighbor who wants to help in finding the missing animal. However, when the reward money advertised is not paid, the accused is left with nothing. Other times, denial of reward money existing, in order to save face, is the cause of an extortion claim. As simple as the start of an extortion claim may be, the end will be the biggest complication for all.
Another claim that many face in the legal system when missing animals are involved is the condition that the animal returns in. Many times, when dogs, cats, and other types of household pets escape, they hurt themselves or are hurt by other people. Unfortunately for the good citizen attempting to help the animal, the good citizen many times becomes the accused in an animal cruelty case that they had no part in causing.
Jacksonville’s citizens take risks when helping others, it seems. As such, when one is in a situation like this, one should not stand idly by while the State mounts a case against one for a crime one did not commit. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville extortion crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are known and protected.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Palatka family searching for escaped dog after apparent extortion attempt, Jim Schoettler, The Florida Times-Union