A 19 year old teen in the Los Angeles area recently pleaded “not guilty” to over 150 counts of porn extortion. The District Attorney’s Office said that Cesar Estrada has been charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of extortion, lewd acts upon a child, and possession of child pornography. This is because he allegedly sought out girls on social media claiming to be a modeling agent. After asking them to send him photos of themselves in their underwear, he allegedly threatened to share those photos with their families unless they sent him nude pictures. The victims were all under 18 years old and spanned eight states.
A month ago, investigators served a search warrant at the apartment on Rosemead Boulevard where Estrada-Davila lived with his mother and siblings. He was arrested Wednesday and brought to court Friday, and will be due back in court next month. He remains in jail with a $400,000 bail and faces up to life imprisonment if convicted of all counts.
The Crime of Extortion (aka “blackmail”)
Under CA Penal Code 518, the crime of extortion/blackmail occurs when:
- One uses force or threats to compel another person to give them money or other property (ie. photographs);
- One uses force or threats to compel another person to force a public officer to perform an official act;
- A public official (ie. cop), uses his or her authority to force others to give him or her their money or property
Extortion in most cases is a felony in California, but as shown by this case, it is further complicated when mixed in with other charges involving minors, lewd acts with children, and pornography. Penalties for extortion alone are two to four years imprisonment with up to a $10,000 fine.
It should also be noted that in 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 255, which makes it a misdemeanor to post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation.
Legal Defenses to Extortion:
- You were falsely accused
- You did not actually force anyone to hand over property
- There is insufficient evidence to support the conviction (an available defense to every crime)