Vivek Shah to be sentenced on extortion charges in Beckley - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Vivek Shah to be sentenced on extortion charges in Beckley

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A small time actor from California will be back in a Beckley Federal courtroom on Wednesday to be sentenced for extortion.

Vivek Shah has been in the Southern Regional Jail on 8 felony counts of extortion.  Shah pleaded guilty to the charges back in May.  He admitted to mailing letters to business tycoons including Foresight Reserves owner and West Virginia native Christopher Cline.  The letters reportedly said the targets should pay up "or else a member of your family will die."  The letters were sent from June to August 2012.

"He took extraordinary steps not only to avoid detection but also to show that he was serious to these victims. he used a variety of sophisticated means including false identifications and seeing up foreign exchange accounts," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Despite his lack-luster Hollywood roles, web sites show Shah posing with an impressive amount of movie stars and that Hollywood fame may have been a motive behind the elaborate scheme.

"He said it was number one to get money but also to get famous if he was ultimately discovered," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

A teary-eyed Shah did make a heartfelt apology to the court and his victims, including Chris Cline.

Other families targeted were those of film producer Harvey Weinstein; Playtone film producer Gary Goetzman; Relativity Media founder Ryan Kavanaugh; oil heiress Dannine Avara; Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky; and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.

(Click here for more information on Shah's guilty plea)