A California man who once had his eyes on the big screen is facing more than seven years in federal prison for trying to extort money from a handful of the rich and famous.

Vivek Shah, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Beckley to eight counts of sending threatening communications in the mail across state lines.

The case ended up in West Virginia because one of Shah’s letters went to Beckley coal millionaire Christopher Cline. Shah threatened to kill members of Cline’s family if he didn’t give him $13 million.

Shah also tried to extort millions from four other wealthy victims including Harvey Weinstein, a movie mogul, and Groupon Co-Founder Eric Lefkofsky. Physical evidence matching Shah was gathered from the letters and his computer

Shah told U.S. District Judge Irene Berger Thursday he came up with the scheme to get attention. There have been various reports about Shah’s attempts to get his acting career jump-started.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 11. Judge Berger still has a gag order on the case. Shah remains in federal prison in Raleigh County.


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  • CaptainQ

    And the Oscar goes to... Vivek Shah for Stupidest Act of the Year! This hairbrained scheme gives new dimension to the term 'idiotic.'