If a 58-year-old pianist, whose family founded a huge oilfield services company, is worried about his laptop being infected with a computer virus, why not grift him for $6 million by telling him that not only was the laptop infected, but that he needed physical protection from the worm's creators based in Honduras and that " Polish priests affiliated with Opus Dei were attempting to possibly harm" him? That's what computer repairman Vickram Bedi and Helga Invarsdottir are accused of doing to victim Roger Davidson.
Back in 2004, Davidson went to Bedi's Mount Kisco, NY repair shop, Datalink, because he was worried music composition on the laptop would be lost. The Westchester DA's press release about the alleged crime is kind of amazing, so here it is:
The scheme commenced in August 2004, when the victim’s computer developed a virus. Concerned that documents, photos and more importantly the music he had written and had stored on the computer could be lost, the victim took the computer to the defendant’s premises to have it repaired. Bedi confirmed that victim’s computer had a virus and indicated that the virus was extremely virulent and had also damaged Datalink’s computers.
Bedi told the victim that he had the facility, the contacts, and the means of tracking down the source of this virus that specifically targeted the victim’s computer and that he and his family were in grave danger. As a result, Bedi convinced the victim to not only begin paying for computer data retrieval and security, but also to begin paying for necessary personal physical protection.
Bedi subsequently advised the victim that he successfully tracked the source of the computer virus to a remote village in Honduras. Bedi informed him that the hard drive was the source of the worm that had invaded the computer and advised the victim that Bedi’s uncle, who Bedi contended is an officer in the Indian military, flew to Honduras in an Indian military aircraft during a reconnaissance mission and obtained the hard drive.
Bedi further related that his uncle obtained information that Polish priests affiliated with Opus Dei were attempting to possibly harm the victim.
Bedi also advised the victim that the Central Intelligence Agency had subcontracted with Bedi to perform work which would prevent any attempts by the Polish priests associated with Opus Dei to infiltrate the U.S. government.
Over this period Datalink charged the victim’s American Express card accounts on a continuing and monthly basis, resulting of a larceny of more than six million dollars.
It's possible that the pair may have scammed Davidson, whose great-grandfather and great-grand uncle founded Schlumberger Ltd., for $20 million. Harrison police uncovered the scam when investigating a separate complaint against Bedi. Bedi and Invarsdottir were charged with grand larceny and their bail was set at $5 million bond over $3 million cash each. The pair also had to give up their passports.
Westchester DA Janet DiFiore said, “As is charged in the complaint, these two defendants preyed upon, duped and exploited the fears of this victim with cold calculation and callousness. The systematic method with which they continued the larceny over a period of more than six years is nothing short of heartless."