BECKLEY, W.Va. -- A California man who allegedly tried to extort $13 million from a West Virginia coal company executive is headed to court and expected to enter a plea.
Aspiring actor Vivek Shah was scheduled to appear this morning before U.S. District Judge Irene Berger in Beckley.
The 25-year-old from West Hollywood is charged with threatening to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, owner of Foresight Reserves, if Cline refused to pay the $13 million.
Shah allegedly targeted four other wealthy but unnamed victims, including a film studio co-founder from Connecticut, oil and gas millionaires in Texas and Florida, and an Internet company founder of an internet company in Chicago.
Federal prosecutors won't identify those victims, and other details in the case are scant.
Berger issued a gag order in the case and sealed the filings, effectively limiting access to attorneys and court staff.
Shah is charged with four counts of interfering with interstate commerce and using interstate commerce to threaten extortion.
An affidavit filed by a U.S. postal inspector who investigated the case says Shah, who also uses the aliases Ray Amin and Rohan Gill, was staying at his father's home in Schaumburg, Ill., just before his arrest.
The scheme laid out in the affidavit was ambitious and wide-reaching, involving offshore banks in Cyprus, Antigua, Malta and Mauritius.