Extortion


A potential client called me this morning (Sunday). He had been to a strip club last night, and today a guy called him (from a caller-ID-blocked number) claiming to be from the human resources department of the club. The guy said that one of the dancers had complained that the potential client had sexually assaulted her. He wanted the potential client to meet him today at noon, or he would file charges. The potential client hadn’t done anything wrong; he wanted to know what to do.

Nothing good could possibly come of going to such a meeting. Either a stripper had made a complaint to HR (do strip joints really have “human resources departments?”) or she had not.

In either case, the caller could hit the potential client up for money.

If there had actually been a complaint, the stripper making the complaint could still make a police report, or keep coming back to the potential client for more money. That’s the way blackmailers work — once they have a victim on the hook, they don’t just walk away. Instead, they keep squeezing and squeezing and squeezing until there is nothing left to squeeze (after which, just for the hell of it, they generally reveal the incriminatory information their victim was trying to conceal). Also, if the potential client paid the caller money to keep him from making a police report, he would be committing the crime of witness tampering.

If there had not actually been a complaint, the caller could also have kept coming back for more money — he would have nothing to lose.

(The other thing the caller could have done if the potential client had gone to the meeting is to assault or kill the potential client. I had a vision of a stripper’s boyfriend thinking the potential client had gone too far, and luring him to a secluded spot at noon on a Sunday to give him a beating.)

This is not the first time I’ve helped someone who was being blackmailed. The best course to take in such a situation is to tell the extortioner to take a hike. There is no code of ethics among blackmailers, and any payment you make to one will just encourage him.

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