Hollywood Bit Actor Accused of Extortion Death Plot

Vivek Shah threatened to kill targets' kin, say feds
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Aug 24, 2012 12:01 AM CDT
Vivek Shah has been accused to threatening to kill relatives of wealthy individuals if they didn't turn over millions of dollars to them.   (IMDB)

(Newser) – A small-time Hollywood actor has been accused of attempting to extort millions of dollars from wealthy individuals by threatening their relatives with death if they didn't pay up, reports the Wall Street Journal. Vivek Shah, 25, mailed extorting letters to five people, according to court documents. He demanded wealthy mining company owner Christopher Cline deposit $13 million in an offshore bank account or face the death of "several" members of his family, said an affidavit. Other targets included film executive Harvey Weinstein, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, and the daughter of late Texas oilman Dan Duncan, sources told the Journal and the New York Post.

Referring to Weinstein, a source told Deadline: “It was scary when he got that letter that involved his family. He was like, ‘What the heck is this?’ It’s the craziest thing he’s ever had to deal with. He said, ‘Business is business, but this is my family.’” A federal grand jury in West Virginia has handed up a four-count indictment in one of the cases. Shah has had a smattering of small acting roles, including one as a "docent trainee" on the TV series Bones, according to information on the Internet Movie Database. (Read more extortion stories.)

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