Extortion Charges Filed Against Prince George’s County Employee

Extortion Charges Placed Against Building Inspector

In January, the Prince George’s County Police Department announced the arrest of  John Cleveland Brown, a building inspector with the Department of Environmental Resources, charging him with extortion. Detectives were contacted by a restaurant owner in Clinton, who told them that Brown had threatened to take away his permit unless he paid Brown $1,000 a week to have Brown’s band play at his restaurant.

The officers set up a sting in which one detective posed as the restaurant’s entertainment manager. Brown was arrested when he came to the restaurant and demanded payment from the undercover officer.

What is Extortion under Maryland Law? Definition of Extortion

Extortion is a crime under Maryland law. The law prohibiting extortion states: A person may not obtain, attempt to obtain, or conspire to obtain money, property, labor, services, or anything of value from another person with the person’s consent, if the consent is induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened: (1) force or violence; (2) economic injury; or (3) destruction, concealment, removal, confiscation, or possession of any immigration or government identification document with intent to harm the immigration status of another person.

Extortion Penalties under Maryland Law

The penalty for extortion in Maryland depends upon the value of the property, labor, or services that are the object of the extortion.

If the value of the property, labor, or services is $500 or more, a person is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both. If the value of the property, labor, or services is less than $500, a person is guilty of the misdemeanor of extortion and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 18 months or a fine not exceeding $500 or both.

Top-Ranked Criminal Defense Lawyer Prince George’s County, MD

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith offers more than 30 years of courtroom experience to criminal defendants in Maryland.

Mr. Smith’s extensive trial experience — and track record of successful results — has earned him the recognition of his peers and clients:

  • Maryland Super Lawyer.
  • 10.0 Superb” as a litigation attorney by AVVO.
  • AV-Preeminent™*” Peer Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (25 consecutive years).
  • “Client’s Choice Award” by AVVO, based on average client reviews of 5 stars — the highest client review possible.
  • 2012 Top Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine and Martindale-Hubbell.

These are the highest ratings possible for legal skill, ethical practice, a lawyer’s years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition.

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has an unparalleled reputation with clients and within the legal community. He handles all types of criminal charges, including extortion.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Howard County, Maryland,

If you face extortion or other criminal charges, or are under investigation for illegal activity, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith will aggressively protect your constitutional rights. Call our office at 410-740-0101, or contact us online, to schedule an appointment. We represent people charged with a crime in Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.




  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101