This case resulted in Conflict International CEO Mike LaCorte being named Investigator of the Year by his fellow professionals in the World Association of Detectives.
The client approached us with concerns that he was being blackmailed and extorted for a sizeable amount of money. This was a sensitive matter concerning a high net worth client who had put himself in a difficult situation.
Our objective was to uncover the individual behind the blackmail, the possible reason and motive, and to liaise with the authorities with a view to bring this matter to a satisfactory private conclusion. The client wanted this problem to go away and did not want to deal with police, authorities and/or court.
Initially, we advised the client to go to the police. He was reluctant to do this and wanted the matter handled discreetly and privately as this would affect his reputation and personal circumstances if the blackmailers continued.
We broke down the investigation into the following phases:
Phase 1 - Assess current situation
To understand how the blackmailer was obtaining his information for use of blackmail and what type of information the blackmailer had on file, we needed to identify if there were any current security breaches of personal data.
Conflict International conducted a full technical sweep of the client’s office and associated addresses. A forensic check of computers identified that remote spyware and email access has been installed on a particular machine. All emails sent/received had been accessed and information therein was used to blackmail the client.
We were also provided with a letter hand-delivered to the client from the blackmailer. The letter was analysed and the contents led us to locate a third party based overseas indirectly linked to the enquiry.
Phase 2 - Identify the blackmailers
In order for us to attempt to identify the blackmailers involved, we would need the client to be part of the investigation. The blackmailers gave my client a deadline date to pay. We briefed the client with a view that he would at some point be approached by the blackmailer who would remind him to co-operate and pay the figure requested or that the information would be used against him.
Counter Surveillance Team
We placed the client under counter-surveillance and covertly monitored him during his daily routine (after the deadline date) with a view to identify whether he or his vehicle were approached with a further reminder and/or note from the blackmailers for the client to co-operate.
After a couple of weeks, the client was re-approached by an individual to co-operate. Our counter surveillance team captured the approach on camera and then monitored the third party to a residential address. Once we had his residential address, we identified him and conducted a background report into the subject.
Conflict International identified the primary subject behind the blackmail and compiled a case against him.
Civil and Criminal Proceedings
This subject was linked to an organised gang. We immediately informed the police and we were asked to submit our findings to them. Our team leader briefed a team in the Kidnap and Blackmail division and the case was formally logged.
Conflict International introduced our client to one of our trusted law firms and an Injunction Order with Penal Notice attached was obtained from the court. A controlled meeting was conducted with the primary blackmailer (with hidden video/audio) where he was showed snippets of our case file – proof he was behind the blackmail. Our request and objective was for the blackmailer to stop immediately or our files would be handed over to the police and he would certainly be arrested and charged.
The Injunction Order remained in force against the blackmailer. The blackmailer stopped blackmailing and my client kept living his personal life without the issue becoming public.