Team Prenda Not Only Still Shaking Down People, But Also Threatening To Tell Their Neighbors About Porn Habits

from the they-just-don't-quit dept

It would appear that while Team Prenda is in denial mode when talking to the press, they're still going strong in the shakedown game. As highlighted by Fight Copyright Trolls, late last week, Paul Duffy was still signing letters sent out from "Anti-Piracy Law Group" -- the name cooked up as a replacement after Prenda's name became toxic. And the letters were sent out the day after Judge Wright's complete smackdown of the whole shakedown business. Even more ridiculous is that the latest batch of threat letters try to speed up the process by telling people they're going to contact your neighbors about what they believe are your porn habits. This is classic stuff, right out the playbook of John Steele/Paul Hansmeier and the like: when they run into trouble, rather than deal with it, they pile on another layer of tricks. In this case, one of the key issues that was raised in other cases, including the case in front of Judge Wright, was Prenda lawyer Brett Gibb's failure to have real proof that an account holder was the party involved in the downloading, especially in cases of open WiFi. While Gibbs had weakly claimed that the house was too far away from others for the WiFi to reach the neighbors, opposing lawyers (and then Judge Wright himself) pointed out that a simple look at Google Maps showed this was clearly untrue.

Team Prenda appears to now be using that to their advantage:
The first step in this process is to conduct what is referred to as a 'pre-complaint investigation.' The purpose of this step is to gather evidence about who used your Internet account to steal from our client. The list of possible suspects includes you, members of your household, your neighbors (if you maintain an open wi-fi connection) and anyone who might have visited your house. In the coming days we will contact these individuals to investigate whether they have any knowledge of the acts described in my client's prior letter.
The short form of this is: "pay up, or we contact your family, friends and neighbors to tell them you've been downloading freaky porn -- whether or not it's true."

I can't imagine that this is going to end well for Duffy, Steele and Hansmeier, no matter how self-assured they like to appear. At best, this is an attempt to squeeze a bit more money out of this whole process before it's completely shut down, but given that the walls are almost certainly closing in on them, continuing to operate in this manner (and even stepping it up in some ways) isn't going to look good to those who are now investigating the matter.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Don't forget the not-so-subtle threat to make sure your employer knows about it and is hassled by them, by saying that they'll seek evidence on your work computer.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    The Stupid. It Burns!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Could someone sue them for defamation if they do indeed start contacting neighbors?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    They also claim that they can look at your mobile phone, and work computer and will look to see if you deleted any evidence from them.

     

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  5.  
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    Rikuo (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    "Our office is committed to ensuring that our client's lawsuit is filed against the actual wrongdoer".

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    Nope, never has a more untrue statement ever been uttered.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Still at it eh?

    Seriously, where exactly do they think this is going, they have lost all credibility as lawyers and resort to blackmail and extortion in a last ditch attempt to steal some more money.

    Either they are complete morons, or they have some ulterior motive to keep going, such as MPAA/RIAA kickbacks.

    They should have been disbarred, long ago... this kind of behavior is a disgrace to the practice of law, and to humanity in general.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Lock 'em up!

    Can we please please please put all these clowns behind bars? Abuse of the legal system should never be taken lightly. Lets pursue it the same way we pursue murder, rape and grand larceny.

     

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  8.  
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    Rick Smith (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:24pm

    Just when you think they can't do anything more stupid...

    Subject says almost all of it.

    The only other thought I have is that these guys are moving into dangerous territory. And I'm not talking about courts, money, or rights; I'm talking about the personal physical kind. They had better be careful, since they are so infamous at the moment it wouldn't be hard to come by information on their whereabouts. If they threaten the wrong person (since there us all kinds of crazy on the net), the whole deal may be over before the courts even have time to deal with it.

     

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  9.  
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    Rick Smith (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Just when you think they can't do anything more stupid...

    supposed to read:
    'since there are all kinds...'

     

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  10.  
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    Lord Binky, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    In their defence

    They already had these printed off and stuffed in envelopes. Although it isn't going to help them at all with their current situation, they decided it was less wasteful to send them off than to throw them in the recycling bin and it helps support the post office as well.

     

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  11.  
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    Lord Binky, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Lock 'em up!

    Why so lenient on them? Why not choose to pursue them as with 'hacking' or copyright infringement.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    I can't remember where I read this so, call me out if I am wrong, but university was going to do a study on porn and needed 1000 men. 500 who have watched porn and 500 who never have watched porn. They had to cancel the study b/c no men came forward saying they have never seen porn. This being the case, I would call their bluff. Go ahead you're not telling anyone what the rest of us already know. If someone is naive enough to think a person has never watched/seen porn then they need to get off their high horse.

     

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  13.  
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    crade (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:43pm

    The list of possible suspects includes:
    - you and your neighbors, visitors,
    - possibly their neighbors, and their neighbors neighbors
    - anyone with a computer, cell phone driving or passing by your area
    - anyone with an internet connection if your computer connects to the internet

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:43pm

    Thoughts from a Prenda lawyer: "Well we got fined by the court who called us all kind of blackmailers and schemers... so let up the blackmailing and scheming to earn that back".

     

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  15.  
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    Vidiot (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Fine details of failure

    I know, I know... ten gallons of fail, and I choose to point out this tiny little crumb; but I must say that I was moved by the story of poor Jamie -- Jamie Thomas-Rasset, that is. I know why she stole them Internets; she was put up to it by her dastardly cousin, Jammie!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Possible way to fight back?

    If one simply ignored the patent/copyright troll letters they receive and the troll kept sending them but never filed a lawsuit only threatening to do so frequently.

    Could the trolls continued sending of these letters be considered criminal harassment?

     

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  17.  
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    Mr. Oizo, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

    Suppose you are such a neighbor

    ... oh ! That's not him, that was me :-)

     

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  18.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Still at it eh?

    It may be a disgrace to the practice of law, and to humanity in general, as you say, but it is a credit to copyright extortion and blackmail. Other copyright trolls should sit up and take note of how its done by the pros at Prenda or whatever they call themselves today. Classic fly by night.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Possible way to fight back?

    That won't likely happen.

    If you ignored them, they'd actually file and hope you'd KEEP ignoring it so they could get a default judgement. Although, at that point you could perhaps get a lawyer and hope they dismiss, as they seem fond of doing.

     

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  20.  
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    crade (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

    Re:

    Or those people *would* be suspects assuming:
    - Our client actually owned the copyright we claim someone infringed on.
    - There were any actual evidence any sort of infringment happened.
    - Copyright actually covered porn in the U.S.
    - We were even a valid law firm

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    That kind of blackmail usually winds up being paid with a bullet.

     

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  22.  
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    Nobody, May 13th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    If there is a silver lining to this cloud, doesn't this constitute an admission that their prior cases lacked any assurance as to who the actual downloader was? They can't have it both ways...

     

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  23.  
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    crade (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Still at it eh?

    The simple answer is they are still at it because no one is stopping them. The question of why no one is or *can* actually stop them is what should really be addressed. Prenda is only a recent / blatant example of this sort of extortion activity. They are hardly the only example, but even the most blatant, throw it in our faces crooks can't be stopped before doing a huge amount of damage. The regular, keep it under the radar or at least bribe the right officials type crooks don't even register on the "maybe we should look into this"-ometer.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Still at it eh?

    They are truly an inspiration to trolls everywhere, along with the trololo guy...

    They should sell action figures, maybe T-shirts or something to spread the good word. I mean who wouldn't want a "Team Prenda" T-shirt?

     

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  25.  
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    Ben (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    That may be so, but there is porn and there is porn and the "films" (and I use the term advisedly) they are trolling for (which they OWN!) are as far from "mainstream" porn as they could get -- not simple M/F, but things like gay porn and bestiality, although I'm not even sure if "gay porn" isn't mainstream these days. They would be laughed at if they went after people for downloading something like "Deep Throat" or "Debbie Does Dallas".

     

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  26.  
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    zerostar83 (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    At work

    Any computers I may have access to at work? Quite literally hundreds of computers.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

    SLANDER PER SE: There are a few types of statements that are, by their nature, presumed to damage a person's reputation. This is called "slander per se". These classes of statements are considered so harmful to a personís reputation that monetary damages are presumed.

    Included in the category of "slander per se" are statements of serious sexual misconduct. A public statement that someone engages in sexual behaviors that are generally considered perverse would fall into this category.

    So, let me make sure that I have this correct.

    They are saying they are going to contact your employer, all of your neighbors, etc... and accuse you downloading specific porn titles.. and it's extremely probable that the titles will be perverse titles, because it's porn. It's almost guaranteed.

    Would this not result in massive numbers of lawsuits and/or counterclaims (assuming there is even a lawsuit to counterclaim in the first place) for slander per se?

    They're already getting some counterclaims on these cases now, I am not sure how many, but at least some. There was that Connecticut case - I believe SJD wrote a post about it at the end of January - where they were counterclaimed for defamation and abuse of process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Just when you think they can't do anything more stupid...

    This is just what I was thinking. If these sociopaths send a letter to the wrong psychopath, it will be bad for everyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Zos (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    probably, but they aren't. it's a numbers game, they're looking for maximum payout to minimum investment of time and effort.

    in the time it takes to find a neighbors number they could send another thousand letters.

     

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  30.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:52pm

    Re:

    wait didn't they accuse me of that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 3:57pm

    So lets look at the last ditch effort.
    Lets use a State court for a round the way copyright case.
    Lets not mention our expert (IIRC) is also the person who missed seeing the systems he ran being hacked for months.
    Lets use the new company name and have Duffy sign, because all of the other names are shot if they google.

    Their day of reckoning needs to come much faster and end these threats.

    Oh and Mike - I still am curious what reports that at the time seems outlandish and now look factual.

     

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  32.  
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    Kevin H (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Re:

    It wasn't Hitler's fault.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

    Re:

    They just claimed that because Georgie doesn't recognize gay marriage and California does it means the California ruling doesn't apply to them nationwide.

    I doubt they know what defamation is =/

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:19pm

    Ah, the tactic of "fuck the courts, we'll do whatever the fuck we want." Copyright enforcement's best and brightest, ladies and gentlemen.

    average_joe must be so proud.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Lucy, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:23pm

    6 degrees of separation

    "...and anyone who might have visited your house."

    The letter is insane, but this part is just...

    ANYONE who MIGHT (access the range of wifi) at the house.

    They may as well put an ad in every publication in the county just to narrow it down a bit.

     

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  36.  
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    Disgusted, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:25pm

    Since the law and court system has no apparent effect on these folks, maybe it's time for cousin Guido and friends to pay them a visit and take 'em for a little ride, ya know?

     

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  37.  
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    Some Guy, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    I wonder if Steele's neighbors know he is facing criminal charges.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 6:57pm

    Wow, Thats messed up. Thank god My internet account, Is registered to Alan Cooper.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Nah, course they know what defamation is. They sued the Internet over it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 13th, 2013 @ 9:02pm

    Re:

    They are going to take them to a farm in the country where they can romp and play all the time!?
    They can visit my dog sparky!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    Extortion for making the threat, sure. Slander would be a bit more difficult since they would word it in a manner saying that it was downloaded from an IP address registered to the house, not that so and so downloaded it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 2013 @ 10:59pm

    Re:

    ...So Prenda think they're a more moral version of the DoJ?

    ...I could buy that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Anon E. Mous (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 12:41am

    Where's RICO?

    If you have ever wondered when you will reach the bottom of the barrel in regards to how low the Prenda gang will go...well this isn't it yet!

    I said in some previous stories that these guys are so addicted to the easy cash from these porn lawsuits that they would change and refine their methods to keep the settlement money train rolling.

    I predict that we will see new LLC's incorporated in far flung destinations where secrecy is golden, new films to be sued over and new attorneys on the front with the old Prenda gang pulling the strings behind the scene.

    Remember Steele had said just says ago he isn't affiliated with any Prenda cases but yet he works for the LW SYSTEMS who in turn is owned by LiveWire Holdings which Steele also is affiliated.

    Now we ought to give Robert Stack a call and maybe he can feature Steele on Unsolved Mysteries and explain the phenomena of how Steele keeps ending up in Prenda related cases when he does no work for them and isn't associated with them.

    These guys from my research on RICO and how one would qualify for a RICO case seem to fit the bill in my opinion.

    I think we are going to see the Prenda gang rake in as much money as they can before the IRS, various State Bar's and the State & Federal AG's bring the curtain down on them.

    I am glad that the various ISP's have banded together to try and get the order for ISP to provide subscriber information quashed, and I hope they are successful in getting this scheme shut down.

    Now with that being said I doubt you will see the Prenda follow the order to halt contacting the subscribers, I would suffice to guess they will do what they did in the case before Judge Wright and continue to contact subscribers and claim like they did in the case that it was an accident.

    These guys wont stop until they lose their ability to practice or are in jail in my opinion. Look at what is happening now, they just change the Law group name and kept at.

    I find it un-believable that they would mention credit card data and mentioning to the neighbour and to the possible employer of the subscriber. In my opinion that's bloody well extorsion, and fits in with my thoughts that these guys should be charged under RICO.

    Looking at the fact that came down from 4000.00 dollars to 2500.00 dollars makes me think that they are playing the odds that some may settle instead of hiring a lawyer and the costs with doing that and fighting would be above the 2500.00 threshold.

    These guys are going all in in a race to beat the Judges starting to hammer them on Judges Wright's reporting to the other Judges of what transpired in the case that was before him.

    Lets hope that the IRS and the State & Federal AG's step up their game before these guys start raking in cash from some poor S.O.B. I hope that they included the friendly defence lawyer who so readily agreed to this discovery without even a whiff of a fight, because in my opinion their is some collusion going on... lets hope a Grand Jury looks at it that same way.

    While I would love to see the Prenda gang behind bars, I doubt we will have seen the last of them

     

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  44.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 3:22am

    Prenda: We are gonna call your neighbors to tell them you are downloading tranny porn.

    Me: Go ahead, I will contact my lawyer to put you in jail for harassment, defamation, psychological/moral damages and I'm sure my lawyer can think of a few more things to rake in.

    Case solved. Next?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
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    DieTrollDie (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    What Paul Duffy's Wife (#Prenda) Thinks

    Here is a Facebook screenshot from a post by Shari Duffy, wife of Prenda lead man Paul Duffy. What a load of crap! (My opinion). And if it wasn't crap, why was the post removed!!!! http://dietrolldie.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/sdfb1.jpg

    DTD :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), May 14th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: What Paul Duffy's Wife (#Prenda) Thinks

    Yes, blame the carriers for the distribution of porn to minors, while the carriers themselves don't distribute porn themselves, and it's the producers that provide access to that crap.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    So... someone contact their families to tell them they're trying to extort and blackmail innocent people. Then tell them you also have evidence they watch TS porn together at the office... end of story.

    Isn't it illegal to threaten to blackmail? I guess who cares right... not like anyone's giving a damn about laws anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    Deybroke (profile), Jul 13th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: What Paul Duffy's Wife (#Prenda) Thinks

    Shari is an idiot too. Have folks considered her events to get the word out on her hubby? That news would spread like wildfire in the Chicago Social Scene.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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