A wealthy musician was bilked for millions of dollars when a computer repair company convinced him he was part of a worldwide conspiracy.
When you bring your computer to a repairman to remove a virus, that last thing you expect is to be drawn into a global conspiracy. However, that's just what a computer repair shop did to Roger Davidson when he brought his computer in for a tune-up, charging him millions of dollars so they could protect him from harm.
Davidson, a music composer, producer, and the heir to an oilfield fortune, brought his laptop to Datalink Computer Services in Mount Kisco, New York in 2004 when he thought it to be infected with a virus. He was very concerned with the possible loss of music compositions, photos, and documents, and relied on Vickram Bedi, 36, and Helga Invarsdottir, 39, of Datalink to help save his data. Instead, the duo told Davidson that the virus was part of a global conspiracy that involved Opus Dei and the CIA.
Bedi and Invarsdottir first fooled Davidson into thinking that the virus on his laptop was so tough that it damaged Datalink's computers, and that it was specifically targeting Davidson and his family. Instilling the fear of physical harm, Datalink was able to get Davidson to pay for data retrieval, security, and even physical protection.
Bedi then told Davidson that he had tracked the virus to a remote village in Honduras, saying that his uncle in the Indian military had flown to the village and obtained a hard drive that was the source. Further, Davidson was scared into believing that information on this hard drive indicated that Polish priests from Opus Dei, a religious organization popularized by the Da Vinci Code, were attempting to harm him.
Bedi also said that he was under contract by the Central Intelligence Agency to keep these Polish priests from infiltrating the U.S. government. Right. Of course, along the way Datalink was charging all of their "costs" to Davidson's credit card.
All told, by July 2010 Davidson had paid Datalink at least $6 million. Authorities caught on when "interested parties" contacted them about the situation. Bedi and Invarsdottir were arrested at their home as they prepared to leave the country. The duo could face up to 25 years in jail for larceny.
Let this be a lesson to you: Before you take your computer to a repair company that has ties to the CIA and the Indian military for a virus that originates in the jungles of Honduras and was coded by Polish priests from Opus Dei that are trying to steal your Latin Jazz compositions, just install Norton. It's endorsed by Snoop Dogg, and he'd never be involved in a global conspiracy.