Entries in Blackmail (2)


Waffle House Chairman Claims He Was Blackmailed by Housekeeper

Jim Stratford/ Bloomberg News(NEW YORK) -- The Waffle House chairman accused of demanding sex acts from his former housekeeper admits to a "series of infrequent consensual sexual encounters" with the woman, but claims he is a victim of blackmail.

"I am a victim of my own stupidity, but I am not going to be a victim of a crime -- extortion," Joe Rogers Jr. said in a statement.

Rogers' former housekeeper in Georgia has accused him of demanding that she perform sex acts on him as part of her job's duties over an eight-year period.

The woman, who ABC News is not identifying due to the sexual harassment allegations, filed an incident report with the Atlanta Police Department that detailed the alleged abuse.  She accused Rogers of forcing her to perform "various sexual acts on him as a condition of her employment," according to the police report.

Rogers said that over a nearly eight-year period in which he was "separated, single and re-married," he had a "series of infrequent consensual encounters" with the woman.

"That was wrong of me and I am very sorry for the pain and embarrassment I've caused my wife and family," he said.  "There is no excuse for what I have done."

Rogers said that the housekeeper worked for him from 2003 until 2008 when she was let go.  He said that she re-applied for her job and was re-hired as his house manager in late 2009, working in that position until she resigned in June 2012.

"On July 16, 2012, I received a letter from her attorney containing false allegations and strong threats," Rogers said.  "According to her attorneys, she now wants millions of dollars from me."

Rogers claimed that he shared a "threatening blackmail letter" with his wife and hired attorneys to investigate.  He said he initiated court proceedings in September 2012 and that the housekeeper and her attorneys responded with false allegations and a false police report.

"As personally embarrassing as this situation is for me, I am committed to the legal and law enforcement process to expose the motives of my former housekeeper and her attorneys," he wrote.

The police report chronicled years of allegedly unwanted sexual contact and graphic details.

"As part of and as a condition of [victim's] employment, and against [victim's] will, Rogers willfully, repeatedly and with specific intent to harm and oppress [victim] required [victim] to perform sexual services," the police report said.

The report was posted online by news website's Acworth branch.  The Atlanta Police Department confirmed the report to ABC News.

The woman identified herself as a 43-year-old single mother with a high school education and technical college degree in cosmetology who "managed many of the day-to-day operations of Rogers' estate."

She said that she needed to keep the job to support herself and her son and could not find a job that paid a comparable salary.

She said that in addition to being forced to perform sexual acts, she was required to purchase pornography, lingerie and sex toys for him.  She said he touched her inappropriately and made sexual comments to her.

"Rogers treated [victim] as subservient and required [victim] to perform these various sexual acts on him as a condition of her employment," according to the report.  "Rogers' conduct toward [victim] was outrageous and offensive and caused [victim] to suffer humiliation, fear, embarrassment and severe emotional distress."

The woman said she quit her job this year as soon as her son was financially secure with a full college scholarship.  Her attorney, David Cohen, did not respond to request for comment.

Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner told ABC News that the woman was Roger's former housekeeper and was not employed by Waffle House Inc.  Warner also said that earlier this year, Rogers transitioned from Waffle House chairman and CEO to just chairman.  He directed further questions to Roger's attorney Robert Ingram, who did not respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Sexual-Scandal Blackmail' Alleged to Collect on Car Loan

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago man who fell behind on his car payments claims that his lender deliberately tried to ruin his marriage, then threatened a "sexual-scandal blackmail" scheme to collect, causing his wife and children to leave him.

Borrower Larnell Pillow now is suing Prestige Financial Corp of Salt Lake City, claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress. He claims an agent for the lender deliberately left a phone message that his wife intercepted, mentioning his secret girlfriend.

The agent's malicious phone call to his wife, Pillow says, "turned my world upside down. I'd lost my job. Then I lost my wife and kids. It's just a domino effect."

It all began innocently enough with his auto lender, Prestige Financial, which specializes in borrowers with poor credit. Pillow, 42, told ABC News that his relationship with Prestige was "beautiful. Everything was current."

So friendly was his relationship with his local agent that the two men shared family information. This information, says Pillow, was candid -- to the point that Pillow, a married man, confided to the agent that he had a girlfriend "on the side," whom he now calls Jane Doe. Every now and then, he says, Jane helped him make payments on his car. She thus became known to the agent. Pillow says he expressly told the agent never to mention Jane Doe to Pillow's wife.

Then Pillow lost his job as an overhead crane operator and fell behind on payments. The agent, to bring pressure on Pillow to pay, eventually phoned Pillow's home, leaving a voice message that mentioned Jane Doe, using her real name. Pillow's wife intercepted that message.

Shortly after, Pillow's wife left him, taking with her the couple's two kids.

Asked where his marriage stands today, Pillow says his wife hasn't yet filed for divorce. "I'm trying to get her to come back home."

Pillow says that when he protested to the agent about the phone message, the agent allegedly responded: "Now we know a pressure point to use on you." It's for this reason that David Boyd, Pillow's attorney, calls the agent's actions "sexual-scandal blackmail."

Unscrupulous debt-collection practices are nothing new. The Federal Trade Commission says it gets more consumer complaints about debt-collectors than about any other industry -- despite the fact that 1978's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was intended to protect consumers from abuse.

"The law is frequently ignored," explains Delicia Reynolds, legislative director with the National Association of Consumer Advocates. "A lot of us joke that the debt collection industry is based on violation of the law."

So common are abuses that law enforcement finds itself overwhelmed, she says. And so significant are the profits to be made from illegal strong-arm tactics that a collector may reasonably view the cost of potential prosecution as insignificant. In Reynolds' words: "It's more profitable to break the law than to comply."

Another problem, say experts, is that the FDCPA did not anticipate new technologies that make it easier now for collectors to harass borrowers. They can and do use Facebook, for example, and other social media, to threaten consumers and to contact their families and employers.

Other technologies make it harder for law enforcement to locate unscrupulous collectors, who use voice-over-Internet phone services to make their calls all but untraceable. Some collection companies, to escape prosecution, have moved offshore and operate, say, from offices in India.

Even against this backdrop, however, experts say Pillow's case qualifies as extraordinary.

Asked by ABC News for comment, Prestige responded by email through the chief counsel for its parent company. His statement reads in part: "Prestige Financial Services has not yet been served with a copy of the complaint and is not in a position to address the merits of the lawsuit. Prestige does not comment on pending litigation."

Complicating things for Pillow is the fact that that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to original lenders, only to collection companies and to buyers of bad debt. Since Prestige was the original lender, Pillow cannot sue under federal law and must go a different route. Hence Boyd's suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio