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Kevin Hart's extortion scandal heats up

The FBI is investigating.

By Starleigh Smith

Via BET

Kevin Hart's luck with women has completely run out. Hart somehow found time between managing his career, taking care of his pregnant wife, ex-wife, and two older children to hook up with another woman.

His bed-buddy threatened to expose the rendezvous if Hart didn't pay. TMZ reports the extortionist asked for up to 8-figures (i.e., tens of millions of dollars.) Hart decided to "fess up" to his mistakes instead of paying out.

The Miami-based "mystery woman" from July is suspect #1. Monique "Momo" Gonzales posted the following to Instagram shortly after Hart's apology video.

What qualifies as extortion?

Every journalist covering this story is throwing the word "extortion" around but what, exactly, does that mean?

Extortion is a criminal offense. Coercion is used to force the victim into paying money to another person. The actual crime of "extortion" is punishable by several different federal statutes.

18 U.S.C. 875 prohibits would-be criminals from using interstate (between states) communication to threaten injury to property or reputation.

18 U.S.C. 880 criminalizes the receipt of extortion proceeds.

If government officials use extortion a different statute applies. If an extortionist threatens the President of the United States, a different statute applies.

It's a tangled web, y'all.

Photo Credit: Feva TV

Extortion is punishable by jail time and/or fines.

Kevin Hart's extortionist could be looking at considerable jail time.

Each statute allows the judge to impose prison time and/or fines as punishment. Additionally, every threat is punishable separately. For example, three threatening phone calls equal three counts of extortion. Each count is punishable by the same amount of time.

A judge can also stack (sentences run consecutively) the punishments or let them run concurrently. Consecutive sentences could land the extortionist in prison for many, many years.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of what you think about Kevin Hart's "sleeping" habits, it sucks to have your mistakes exposed to the whole world. Good for Hart for being brave enough to say "enough is enough!"

Starleigh Smith is a third-year law student at Washington and Lee University School of Law. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Florida State University (Go Noles!). When she is not busy with school, Starleigh spends her free time with her husband and three children hiking, watching movies, traveling, attending soccer games, and cooking (always cooking).

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