Let’s just say you’re divorced, and your ex-wife calls to tell you one of your kids is being held for ransom. I think most folks would pay up. Just suppose, though, that your ex-wife called to say that one of your children was again taken hostage, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again! For real. This woman told her ex-husband that one of their kids (sometimes their son, sometimes their daughter) had been kidnapped SEVEN TIMES over a five-year period! And you know how many times he paid? Six! For a total of £530,000 ($808,000 US!). As reported by The Telegraph:
In the summer of 2001, she told her estranged husband, named only as Pedro GM, who was living in a different town, that strangers had entered her home and taken her daughter Sara, demanding payment of 30,000 euros (£23,000) for her safe return.
A year later, she claimed that the girl had been taken again, this time to settle a drug debt, and asked her husband to cough up 48,000 euros (£38,000) for her release.
In 2003 she again approached her husband, this time claiming that their son Emilio had been snatched after she failed to pay 36,000 euros (£28,000) she owed to a clothing wholesaler. He once again paid the money and the child was “returned” unharmed.
In 2004, she faked another kidnapping, again of her teenage son Emilio, claiming that drug dealers were demanding 54,000 euros (£43,000) for a package of cocaine that the boy had lost. Once again, the father paid the ransom demand to his wife to pass on.
In December 2005 and January 2006 she again claimed that their son had got himself in trouble and was being held to ransom, but this time she said he had been taken by members of a gypsy family who wanted blood money totalling 180,000 euros (£142,000) because he had taken the virginity of a 13-year old relative.
Finally, in Sept 2006 she and her friends concocted a story claiming that Emilio had again been abducted from outside their home in the Madrid suburb of Fuenlabrada. On this occasion, the boy himself called his father, claiming his attackers were torturing him and were threatening to kill him unless a ransom of 252,000 euros (£200,000) was paid.
How were they caught?
Minutes later [after the boy called his father] he was spotted in the street having a drink with friends, said the private detective hired by Pedro G M to investigate the case.
I think it’s only appropriate to end this post with some quotes about greed.
“To be perfectly honest, what I’m really thinking about are dollar signs.” Tonya Harding
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” Gandhi
“I’m a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.” Zsa Zsa Gabor
“Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough.” Janwillem van de Wetering
“How did I get involved in a terrible film like Best Defense? The door opened and four men came in carrying a check.” Eddie Murphy (Note that, although it might seem criminal, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a civil claim.)
And my favorite:
“Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Bob Dylan