I have been blackmailed. Paid once, want to know what to do the next time it happens.

Last month, an ex employee threatened to reveal erotic emails to my wife if I did not pay her $1200. She settled for $360. I just discovered that she committed a crime doing this. If/when she comes back for more, what is my best course of action to make it stop?

Asked on June 26, 2009 under Criminal Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although I do not practice law in the State of Mississippi, it is clear that your ex-employee may have exposed herself to potential criminal and/or civil liability for extorting money/blackmailing you.  Therefore, the first thing you should do is to retain careful documentation of all of your ex-employee's actions with respect to this conduct.

 However, I recognize that this is a delicate situation, if not just for the fact that your wife could find out as a result of any action that you may take, but also because it is theoretically possible that the "erotic emails" may also expose you to criminal and/or civil liability.  Therefore, in the interest of obtaining the most favorable resolution of this matter while balancing all of the appropriate interests, I highly recommend that you consult with and/or retain an attorney experienced in both criminal and civil law who will be able to advise you with respect to the wisest course of action to take.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Blackmail is a crime, and you can report it to the police.  You can do that right now, if you can prove the payment by something other than cash or if this ex-employee was stupid enough to make the threats in writing (including email), which would (hopefully) prevent a "next time."  Otherwise, if there is a "next time," talk to the police before you make a payment, with their help you may be able to set her up.

Depending on all the facts, and the law of your state (I don't practice in Mississippi), you might also be able to sue her, particularly if she reveals the emails to your wife.  For that, you would want to talk to a local attorney, and one place to look for counsel is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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