Feeds

Oil heir loses $6m in 'CIA-Opus-Dei' malware murder scam

Pianoman got played for six years

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A pair of US conmen managed to swindle $6m from a jazz pianist through one of the strangest virus-related blackmail scams imaginable.

The odd tale began after the great-grandson of an oil industry tycoon, jazz pianist Roger Davidson, brought his PC in for repair back in August 2004, believing it to be virus-laden. Computer repairman Vickram Bedi, 36, from Chappaqua, New York, first stung Davidson for inflated data retrieval costs and charges - also telling him his machine had infected others in the repair shop.

Bedi and his girlfriend Helga Invarsdottir, 39, then cooked up a far more ambitious and implausible scam. The duo teamed up to claim they had discovered evidence that Davidson's life was in danger while disinfecting Davidson's machine.

Invarsdottir, posing as a CIA agent, claimed a Polish priest affiliated with Opus Dei had put out a contract on Davidson, a bizarre idea that would stretch credulity even in a Dan Brown novel. She subsequently tricked the gullible Davidson, 58, into handing over $160,000 a month in "protection money", paid through regular payments to Bedi's Mount Kisco, New York store.

The scheme ran for a scarcely believable six years before it unravelled - we suspect after a relative of Davidson got wind of the scam - and the authorities were called in to investigate. Bedi and Invarsdottir were subsequently arrested last week, just as they were preparing to leave for Iceland.

The New York Times has more on the bizarre tale here. Net security firm Sophos, which brought the odd episode to our attention, notes that the scam illustrates how conmen can use lack of knowledge about computers to scam the unwary - a reason why the more internet savvy need to keep an eye out for their vulnerable (possibly elderly) relatives. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.