Indo-American actor, Vivek Shah, sentenced to 7 yrs for extorting Weinstein

Sep 12, 2013, 14:06 IST | PTI

Indian-American actor Vivek Shah, who sent extortion threats to several high profile people including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, has been sentenced to seven years and three months in prison

The 26-year-old actor, who did small roles in TV series 'Outsourced', 'Bones' and romantic comedy 'Our Family Weddings', was arrested in August last year for threatening to kill relatives of several prominent businessmen unless they wired money to an offshore account.

The West Hollywood-based Shah had hoped to raise USD 120 million through his elaborate extortion bid. Besides Weinstein, he targeted Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, Playtone owner Gary Goetzman, oil heiress Dannine Avara and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of transferring threatening communications in interstate commerce and seven counts of mailing or sending threatening communications through the mail, said a newspaper. 

"Imagine how terrifying it would be to open the mail and find a threat to kill your spouse or your children," US Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a release. "This defendant carried out a carefully planned scheme designed to frighten his victims out of more than USD 120 million. It was an extraordinarily brazen crime, and I'm pleased, for the victims' sake, that we were able to put a stop to it so quickly," Goodwin added. Shah's Facebook page showed photos of him posing with Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise and Sofia Vergara. 

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