Next steps in extortion case - ideas?

Matthew Petach mpetach at
Sat Jun 28 18:25:53 UTC 2014

On Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM, Markus <universe at> wrote:

> Am 28.06.2014 15:05, schrieb Justin M. Streiner:
>  Have you contacted your local police, or the German equivalent (the
>> BKA?) of the United States' FBI?
> > [...]
>  My personal opinion is that having a PI go to the individual's house
>> would not accomplish more than 'tipping your hand' to that person -
>> letting them know that you've committed resources to tracking them down.
> I haven't contacted any law enforcement agency yet, because I'm not yet
> certain which one(s), where, and whether it's a good move at this point.
> According to my experience, German police is too slow, even if it's just
> passing on the case to the next "higher" agency. Somehow I think it would
> be most effective to have several investigations, that I start by myself,
> in parallel. E.g. in Russia -> collect the data of the person who's paying
> for the domain/hosting, so I guess I need a lawyer in Russia to contact
> (the Russian equivalent of the FBI, I think), who in turn
> hopefully will make the Russian hosting provider provide that data. At the
> same time, a lawyer in the US to do the same for the phone number. In
> parallel, the same for the US hosting providers that were used in the past
> by that individual.
> But, before I can do all that, won't I need sufficient proof?

If you've been a victim of extortion, the simple
existence of the threat and demand for payment
is proof enough for law enforcement to start an
investigation.  More information can sometimes
be helpful, but you run a risk of tainting evidence
if you go too far on your own, which may end up
hurting the case in the long term.  If you obtain
proof through illegal or questionable means, it
generally can't be used as part of the case
against them.

> What I have at this point is a phone number, but I cannot be sure that the
> connected name and addresses, which I found solely based on web research,
> is accurate, and even if they were, that's no evidence for anything. This
> is why I came up with the PI idea, which I didn't explain properly enough.
> I didn't mean the PI to knock at some doors and say "Hello there, Markus
> from Germany sends me, are you <name>?" - hehe. :) I meant that the PI
> should perform surveillance and observe who's arriving and leaving, and if
> a person matches the picture I provided or maybe ethnicity/age, walk up to
> him and ask for the way to the bus stop or something, in order to check
> whether his voice matches. If it does, and if the PI can document this in a
> way that can be used in court, I have an address and a name I can use to
> pass to lawyers/law enforcement.
> When I write all this I always have in mind that law enforcement research
> is slow. Talking about Germany now, don't know about the US. Especially in
> a case like this where no life is in danger or where there's no other
> immediate threat. This is why I'm thinking: I better do/initiate as much
> research as I can by myself. Once I've collected everything I can from all
> kinds of sources I'll throw the whole bunch of documents to a lawyer/LE in
> the US.
> Doesn't make sense? Wrong thinking?
> Thanks!
> Markus
It depends on your goal.  If your goal is to
get this person off your back quickly, yes,
law enforcement can often seem slow.

But taking action on your own could end
up thwarting the longer-term goal of making
sure this person is never able to do it again,
in that if you obtain proof through means that
do not fall within the strict law enforcement
guidelines, they may escape prosecution
based on those technicalities.  It would be
far better to start working with law enforcement
now, to ensure the investigation doesn't
create loopholes they can crawl out of
later as the noose tightens.


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