The Madison County Record May 11, 2013, 8:53am

The perfect crime, to be perfect, has to escape detection.

We’re not talking about just getting away with it. Impressive though that may be to those who find crime impressive.

We’re talking about a crime that no one’s even arrested for, because no one – other than the victim -- even knows that a crime’s been committed.

The murder staged as a suicide or accident is a classic example. In some cases, the authorities may suspect foul play, but have nothing to go on. In other cases, they may never suspect a thing and the truth will be buried with the corpse.

A thief stealing from another thief can be a perfect crime if the “victim” refuses to report the theft for fear of being exposed as the former possessor of stolen goods.

Then there’s the badger game, the entrapment of some ordinarily upright person in an embarrassing situation (usually an illicit sexual liaison), followed by a generous offer to keep the uncharacteristic moment of moral failure quiet – for a fee.

The trick is to keep the fee “reasonable,” lest the victim’s shame be overcome by greed – disguised as civic duty – and the cops get called in.

Chicago attorney Paul Duffy and colleagues are being accused of coming up with a cyber-age twist on the old badger game. They’re suing tens of thousands of as-yet anonymous defendants who allegedly accessed Internet pornography without paying for it.

Would these schmucks prefer that their spouses, partners or bosses not find out about their secret interests? No problem. Duffy, et al are happy to settle and keep their names unknown – for a fee.

One such case is now in progress in St. Clair County. Another just concluded in California.

There, a federal judge has sanctioned Duffy and his fellow doofuses and referred their names to the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Attorney in Central California, and the state and federal bars in which they practice.

Not exactly a perfect caper.


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