Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Trick to Extortion

July 8th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Granted, a 46-year-old exotic dancer in Moorehead, Minnesota, is unlikely to understand the delicate economics of successful extortion. But she still should’ve realized that her scheme to squeeze a North Dakota pastor would end badly if she kept pressing for hush money. Given that she hadn’t picked a wealthy target, Bunny Byington really should’ve kept the initial payment and moved on. But when she tripled her initial request? That’s when the pastor decided to bite the bullet:

Three years into a relationship that started with him watching her dance and progressed to money for sex, the Rev. Mark Ostgarden had a proposal for exotic dancer Bunny Byington.

How about the Lutheran pastor quit paying her and they consider their relationship an affair instead?

Byington’s reply? How about he pay her $7,000 or she would blab about their escapades to his wife and church?

Now Ostgarden’s 19 years as a Lutheran clergyman in Valley City, N.D., have come to a quick end after he felt forced to tell police in Moorhead, Minn., about 46-year-old Byington’s attempt to extort money from him to keep quiet about their relationship.

The question, then, is how an extortionist settles upon the perfect sum to demand. Because you need to make sure it’s a figure that’s big enough to be worth the risk, but small enough so that the victim isn’t forced to expose the racket. Perhaps Ms. Byington should have taken Econ 101 at Moorehead State before embarking on her illicit career.

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