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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87776
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I started helping a woman I knew through a local restaurant.

Resolved Question:

I started helping a woman I knew through a local restaurant. She needed money she said or she would be kicked out of her apartment. Then she lost her job. I've basically been supporting her for the last 7 months because whenever I don't return her texts or come up with money when she needs it, she threatens to tell my wife and friends. I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me exactly what she is threatening to tell your family/friends about this? Does she have any leverage on you besides that fact that you have been acting like a Good Samaritan? Is she threatening to tell them that you had an affair with her?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

She is threatening to say we have been having an affair. I have been to her house,fixed a few things for her, worked on her computer. We recently exchanged some racy texts, but there has been no sex involved.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hmm, I see.

Well this sounds like she is a scammer, and likely had done this before.

What she is doing is called extortion, or more commonly known as "blackmail."

In North Carolina, extortion is illegal under North Carolina General Statutes § 14-457:

"Any person who verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to [damage one's software and/or hardware] with the intent to extort money or any pecuniary advantage, or with the intent to compel any person to do or refrain from doing any act against his will, is guilty of a Class H felony."

What someone in your situation may wish to do is twofold:

1) Simply tell her that you will go to the police if she continues to do this, and will file a complaint. Before you do so, it may be prudent to collect texts/emails from her threatening to spread this rumor, or, record her making such a thread (it is legal to record her if you are party to the conversation - N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 15A-286; North Carolina v. Price, 611 S.E.2d 891 (N.C. Ct. App. 2005)). A lot of times, then she will simply drop the matter, as she will know that you have real leverage and may file a complaint;

or

2) If you do not wish to confront her and have proof of her extortion (email, letter, text, recording), then go to the police and make a formal criminal complaint and she may be charged with a crime.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I actually told her I would go to the police. She replied that she would tell them I raped her. This was about 4 months ago. So I kept giving her the money. I didn't know it until after I started helping her that she'd just gotten out of prison recently. She was in prison for embezzlement at a local company approximately 9 years ago. I don't know how many years she was in prison.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
A,

Considering that:

1) She has a criminal record; and
2) She was in prison for embezzlement, it is very unlikely that her claim of 'rape' would be taken seriously given (1) her history, (2) the fact that she never came forward 4 months ago, and (3) her motive to continue payment.

All it takes is getting her to state this in an email, a text, or a recording (if you do not have this already), and then taking this to the authorities. I know this may be somewhat frightening, but you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and that is the only way of getting out. I highly doubt that the police are going to take her claim seriously given her past for fraud.

Gentle Reminder: Again, surely you prefer that I be honest in my answer – please remember that rating negatively due to receiving bad news still hurts the expert – it is simply the way that the system is set up. Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Should I contact the police directly first? Or should I get a local attorney first?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Friend,

This is your choice, but, it is strongly recommended to get local counsel first, since they will help you with the process and ensure that what you are doing is proper since the matter can be very delicate. May I recommend the NC Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I guess what I'm afraid of is that if I tell the police what happened, she'll still pretty much be able to do what she has threatened anyway (contact my wife and friends, say things about me on Facebook, etc. Is this true?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Friend,

Once/if you file the complaint, you may also request that the criminal court file for a RESTRAINING ORDER against her when/if she is charged, or, get one yourself in civil court.

If so, then she and/or her agents shall be restrained from contacting you and/or your family/friends. Also, you may threaten to sue her for DEFAMATION as well.

There is always a risk, yes, but faced with another criminal charge, she likely to back down. She does not want to go back to prison. So you actually have more leverage here with the criminal complaint than she does with the threat of going to your loved ones.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

One more question please, I'm on the NC Find-a-Lawyer site and it is asking me to select an "area of law" and I'm not sure what to select.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend,

Please ask as much as you need to, for this is why I am here.

Considering that she is threatening you with rape and she herself is committing a crime, a CRIMINAL attorney would be the appropriate choice.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your advice. I appreciate your time.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87776
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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