WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — An aspiring actor has been arrested on federal charges of trying to extort movie producer Harvey Weinstein and other business magnates by threatening to kill members of their families unless they wired millions to an offshore bank account.
Vivek Shah, 25, of West Hollywood, was arrested Aug. 10 after being charged with sending threatening interstate communications, according to the Smoking Gun. Shah was arrested at his family’s home in suburban Chicago, two days before he was set to come home to Los Angeles, where he to undergo training for handgun shooting, the website reported.
Shah has appeared as an extra in TV shows such as “Bones” and “Outsourced” and in the film, “Our Family Wedding,” according to his IMDB page.
In an affidavit sworn by Postal Inspector Joshua Mehall, Shah allegedly sent extortion demand letters to several deep-pocketed businessmen from Los Angeles in June and July.
One letter sent to coal tycoon Christopher Cline threatened to kill several named members of his family unless he transferred $13 million to an offshore bank account. Letters were also sent to an Illinois man described as the “co-founder and chairman of an Internet company,” a Florida resident and “founder of an oil and gas company,” and a Texas resident who was “the child of a late founder of another oil and gas company.
Weinstein is not named in the affidavit, but is described as “a Connecticut resident and co-founder of a film studio.”
If convicted of the federal charges, Vivek faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He remains in jail in lieu of a detention hearing.