A scorned mistress tried to extort $150,000 from a married businessman – but now it’s coming back to haunt her.
A scorned mistress tried to extort $150,000 from a married businessman she was having an affair with by threatening to reveal her infidelity because she felt ‘betrayed and devastated’, a Perth court has heard.
Real estate agent Rachel Roche, 40, met the man, whose identity has been removed, on dating site SeekingArrangements in 2019.
In Perth District Court on Thursday, more details of their affair – and why Ms Roche then sent a series of emails demanding the lump sum and $50,000 a day if she was not paid within timelines – were revealed during his sentencing, the Western Australia reports.
The court was told the couple quickly developed a close relationship after meeting through the dating site in 2019. But the man failed to tell Roche he was married with children and ghosted him when she saw a photo of him wearing a wedding ring and confronted him.
Roche’s defense attorney, Barrister Linda Black, told Perth District Court that her client had “stupidly believed” he would leave his wife, but then cut off all contact with her. Feeling “betrayed and devastated”, Roche sent him nine emails demanding that he pay her $150,000 in cash or she would tell his wife and associates about the matter.
Prosecutor George Brett said the victim had “a significant sum to lose” by receiving the emails, Perth Now reports.
“He was in a Catch-22 – either he would pay or risk his affair being disclosed,” Mr Brett said.
“And there is a degree of malice and vindictiveness, and an element of greed.”
The man reported the matter to the police and Roche was charged with extortion – a charge to which she pleaded guilty just a month before her trial.
Ms Black said her client admitted his actions were ‘totally wrong and illegal’ but added the man should accept some responsibility for being unfaithful to his wife and concealing his marital status, according to the ABC .
The court was told that at the time Roche sent the emails, she was also ill, due to what she mistakenly believed to be a sexually transmitted disease she had contracted from him.
“She was devastated because she thought she had found a relationship with someone who was available… she then scrolls through social media to see the man she really loves with a wedding ring on her finger,” Ms Black said. .
“She was broken, devastated and angry. [That] caused her to behave in a criminal manner.
“She went through a phase of fury against him, wanting to punish him.”
She added that Roche believed the man had agreed to help her buy a house – a claim her legal team disputed in court.
Judge Fiona Vernon said her decision whether or not to jail Roche immediately was “reasonably well balanced”, but ultimately handed him an 18-month prison sentence – suspended for 18 months.
“The discovery of his marital status…associated with your ghost has caused you anger and distress,” she said.
“It provided the context for the offense…but it doesn’t provide an excuse.”
“You’re not young, you should have known better. And you obviously threatened him with something that mattered to him – exposure.