The FBI has arrested an aspiring actor in connection with an extortion plot that allegedly included a plan to squeeze a large sum of money out of Harvey Weinstein.
According to a federal complaint charging him with sending threatening interstate communications, Vivek M. Shah sent multiple extortion letters to five people in areas including West Virginia and Florida, demanding $13 million in one case and threatening to kill members of their families if the money was not delivered.
Although Weinstein was not named in court docs, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that he was one of the individuals targeted. Court docs refer to a “Connecticut resident and founder of a film studio.” TWC declined to comment on the case.
According to an affidavit signed Aug. 10 by postal inspector Joshua D. Mehall, Shah also sent a letter to coal mining mogul Christopher Cline, the majority owner of Foresight Reserves. The affidavit also stated that Shah possessed a fake driver’s license and calling cards to help further his scheme, which would have included the use of offshore bank accounts to transfer extorted funds.
Shah, who was described as “happy-go-lucky” by one person who knew him, has had an acting career consisting mostly of bit parts. He was an extra in pics including “Our Family Wedding” and “Hotel Hollywood.”
Midwest Talent Management had repped Shah up until about a week ago, when the thesp left for Illinois, where he was arrested on Aug. 10. He had lived in West Hollywood.
His commercial agents, Coast to Coast Talent Group and the Osbring Agency, have since dropped the thesp.
“I never looked at him as troubled or off or desperate in any way, shape or form,” Shah’s Coast to Coast agent Elyah Doryon told Variety. “I was stunned to see (the arrest), but nothing surprises me in this day and age.”