I t’s no small irony that when one looks at Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill, one is also seeing the face of a blackmailer’s victim.
In 1791, Hamilton, who was not only married but also the first United States Treasury Secretary, became romantically involved with a married woman named Maria Reynolds. Eventually the affair was discovered by James Reynolds, Maria’s husband. Mr. Reynolds, already something of an established conman, began blackmailing Hamilton in order to keep the affair secret, threatening to release the many love letters Hamilton had written to Mrs. Reynolds. The initial price? $1,000.00. Given that this was 1791, that translates to around $20,000 in the 21st century.
Unfortunately, as in all blackmail schemes that aren’t properly confronted, Alexander Hamilton had to admit to his dalliances with the married Mrs. Reynolds when her husband was backed into a corner of his own; his scheme to steal funds from Revolutionary War veterans began unraveling. Mr. Reynolds threatened to expose the affair if the Treasury Secretary didn’t help Reynolds. Forced into a corner, Hamilton had to come clean to Congress. The scandal burned hot and bright, and is often referred to as America’s first sex scandal. Alexander Hamilton’s reputation suffered for years, not only fallout from the affair, but because, despite being innocent of treason, his ties to James Reynolds left many people to assume him to be guilty by association.
By the time the blackmailing scheme was over, Alexander Hamilton would pay the Reynolds close to $30,000 (in 2017 inflation adjustments), the affair was still exposed, and his reputation was forever tarnished, simply because he had hoped paying the demanded price would make the problem “go away.”
We are all human and are prone to mistakes and momentary lapses in good judgement. For some of us, it’s a continual learning process. Unfortunately, those whose lives have been hi-jacked by a blackmailer or extortionist can find themselves falling into a bottomless abyss. The sleepless nights, the guilt, the pit-of-the-stomach feeling when the phone rings. For the individual being blackmailed, returning home to their family after the day and not knowing what to expect when they walk through the door is nothing more than continual hell.
We rescue our clients from that hell. We solve these problems by finding a solution, and doing so with complete and utter discretion.
Our goal is simple: Solve the client’s problem and leave no trace of either the problem or our involvement.