Author Topic: $20 million scam based on bad Dan Brown novel  (Read 1068 times)

Cain

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$20 million scam based on bad Dan Brown novel
« on: November 22, 2010, 04:26:03 pm »
More or less, anyway

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/pianist-composer-bilked/

Quote
A noted classical pianist, composer and Latin music producer found himself drawn into an elaborate years-long extortion scheme that cost him between $6 and $20 million after he brought his laptop into a computer repairman to help rid it of a virus.

The alleged fraudsters, a computer repairman and his girlfriend in suburban New York, convinced the wealthy 58-year-old that he was the victim of an especially sophisticated piece of malware controlled by a devious group in Honduras, and that he and his family were also targeted for harm by a group pf Polish priests out to topple the U.S. government. The scam was reported in a statement released by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office on Monday and in a New York Times story.

The complex scam continued for six years before the two suspects, who claimed to be working with the CIA to thwart the Polish priests, were arrested as they prepared to leave on a trip to Iceland.

It began in 2004 when composer Roger Davidson brought his troubled laptop to Datalink Computer Products, a shop in the affluent town of Mount Kisko, New York, run by Vickram Bedi, 36, and his Icelandic girlfriend Helga Invarsdottir, 39. Davidson suspected his computer was infected with a virus and was concerned that music compositions he stored on the computer would be destroyed.

Once Bedi and Invarsdottir realized the extent of Davidson’s wealth, they began to hatch an elaborate scheme alleging various security threats against not only Davidson and his family but the U.S. government, the district attorney’s office says. Davidson, who produced the Grammy-winning album Te Amo Tango for musician Raul Jaurena, is also heir to the Schlumberger oil fortune as a descendant of two brothers who launched the multinational oilfield services company.

Bedi confirmed for Davidson that his computer was infected and added that the malware was so virulent it had infected and damaged Datalink’s computers, as well. Bedi promised to investigate the source of the malware, claiming to have special familial connections to help him do so.

Bedi later claimed the malware had been tracked to a hard drive in a remote village in Honduras. As proof, he claimed that an uncle in the Indian military had flown to Honduras for a reconnaissance mission and seized the hard drive while there.

That’s when things got really weird.

Bedi claimed his uncle had uncovered a plot, perpetrated by Polish priests associated with Opus Dei, to harm Davidson and his family. Opus Dei, of course, gained public acclaim for its imagined role in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code novel, which was published in 2004. Bedi claimed he was helping the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency thwart Opus Dei’s efforts to infiltrate the U.S. government.

Davidson, convinced he and his family were in danger, agreed to pay Datalink not only for computer services to rid him of the harmful virus but to pay for protective services to guard him and his family. The costs, charged to Davidson’s American Express card on a monthly basis, eventually added up to $6 million before authorities, responding to a separate complaint against Bedi this last July, began to unravel the plot. The two defendants were arrested in their home as they were preparing to leave the country.

Authorities say the final cost of the scam could amount to $20 million.

“These two defendants preyed upon, duped and exploited the fears of this victim with cold calculation and callousness,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore in a statement Monday. “The systematic method with which they continued the larceny over a period of more than six years is nothing short of heartless.”

The two have been charged with one count of felony grand larceny. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 25 years in state prison.

A spokesman for the district attorney’s office indicated it was unclear why Davidson fell for the ruse but said the victim may not be at a complete loss.

“He may get a fair portion of [the stolen money] back,” said spokesman Lucian Chalfen.

 :?

 :x

Sister Fracture

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Re: $20 million scam based on bad Dan Brown novel
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 04:39:54 pm »
 :lulz:
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Re: $20 million scam based on bad Dan Brown novel
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 06:27:32 pm »
Wow....
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Re: $20 million scam based on bad Dan Brown novel
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2010, 07:37:47 pm »
Sweet!  :lulz: I'm surprised that someone that gullible, had managed to hold onto a fortune at all!  They should have kept to just the one scam though, because it looks like they were sussed through a ''separate complaint'. I expect if Davidson had figured it out, he'd have been too embarrassed to go to the authorities. 25 years is a bit steep though.   
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