We all know it’s difficult to make it in Hollywood. You might be working as hard as you can and end up feeling hopeless after playing your fifteenth bit part (if you even get that!) You might even consider doing something extreme to get attention.
But there is something called too extreme, like extortion attempts against some of the richest people in the country, including Hollywood mogol Harvey Weinstein.
But that’s exactly what 25 year-old West Hollywood actor Vivek Shah is now being accused of by the FBI: sending letters that threatened the lives of the millionaires and their loved ones of the recipients, including Weinstein, if several million dollars was not placed in an overshore account that he set up. The letters mentioned in the letters that he was down on his luck but would pay back the money with 4 percent interest (as if that would smooth over the whole “I’m going to kill you and your family” thing).
Shah has appeared in TV’s Bones and Outsourced, as a bank hostage in The Dark Knight, and an Intel commercial that ran during the Super Bowl in 2010. Despite his small number of credits, Shah’s Facebook page is filled with pictures of the accused actor with various A-list celebrities (most of whom look annoyed, like Zach Galifianakis).
The FBI discovered Shah’s alleged involvement by following the money trail: the postage for the UPS letters was paid for via a PayPal account, which was linked to a prepaid debit card, which was traced back to a mailbox rental registered to Shah’s address, where he was arrested on August 10 after showing a false driver’s license. Surveillance footage from the stores where the debit cards were purchased show Shah buying the cards.
So, make sure you cross off “writing threatening extortion letters” off your “Ways to Succeed in Hollywood” list.