Man arrested in Harvey Weinstein extortion plot

Aug 23 2012 - 2:10pm

Images

Weinstein at the 2010 Time 100 Gala.
Weinstein at the 2010 Time 100 Gala.

LOS ANGELES-Federal agents have arrested a man suspected of issuing death threats to a slew of business titans, including film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and demanding that they send millions to an offshore bank account.

The news was first reported by The Smoking Gun website.

The suspect, identified as 25-year-old Vivek Shah, an actor living in West Hollywood, was arrested on Aug. 10 at his parents' house in Illinois.

According to a sworn affidavit from Postal Inspector Joshua Mehall, Shah had been sending threatening letters to Weinstein-co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. - and four other moguls, in June and July. "Each of these letters contained a threat to kill named members of the recipient's family unless a large sum of money was wired to an offshore bank account," said Mehall in the statement.

The Weinstein Co. declined to comment on the matter.

Other victims, according to the affidavit, include coal magnate Christopher Cline, an individual referred to as "an Illinois resident and co-founder and chairman of an Internet company; a Florida resident and founder of an oil and gas company; and a Texas resident and the child of a late founder of an oil and gas company.

The Oscar-winning producer isn't identified by name in the affidavit, but referred to as "a Connecticut resident and co-founder of a film studio."

Each of the letters sent were identical with the exception of the personal information. All threatened to kill specific family members if $13 million wasn't received.

Shah, according to his IMDB page, had appeared in single episodes of television shows "Bones," "Outsourced," and "Animal Witness." He had an uncredited role in "The Dark Knight" and played a maitre'd in the 2010 movie "Our Family Wedding."

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