A Chappaqua duo used their computer service business and fabricated security threats involving nonexistent foreigners to steal more than $20 million from a wealthy musician who is the heir to an oil fortune, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said Tuesday.
Vickram Bedi, 37, of Chappaqua, pleaded not guilty to first-degree grand larceny at his arraignment Tuesday, DiFiore said.
Over six years Bedi and Helga Invarsdottir, 40, defrauded noted pianist and composer Roger Davidson of millions by making up computer security threats through their Mount Kisco business, Datalink Computer Products Inc., the DA said.
Their deeply detailed story included “false affiliations with government intelligence agencies” and connections to a remote village in Honduras and possibly menacing Polish priests from Opus Dei, the district attorney said.
Invarsdottir pleaded guilty a year ago to first-degree grand larceny and second-degree grand larceny. She has not yet been sentenced.
When she and Bedi were arrested at their home last year, authorities gave a smaller figure for what they allegedly stole of at least $6 million, according to The Associated Press.
After Davidson’s computer developed a virus in August 2004, he took it to Datalink on Mount Kisco’s Main Street to have it repaired, concerned that the music he’d written and stored on the machine could be lost, along with documents and photos, according to DiFiore.
Bedi confirmed that Davidson’s computer had a virus and indicated that the dangerous virus, while targeted at Davidson, had also damaged Datalink’s computers, DiFiore said. Bedi told Davidson he had the contacts and means to track down the source of the virus and that Davidson and his family “were in grave danger.” That convinced the musician to begin paying for computer data retrieval and security, and for physical protection, DiFiore added.
DiFiore said Bedi “preyed upon, duped and exploited the fears of this victim with cold calculation and callousness.”
“The systematic method with which the defendant continued the larceny over a six-year period along with the sizable amount of money taken is nothing short of heartless,” she said after Bedi’s arraignment Tuesday.
Datalink charged Davidson’s American Express card accounts each month, taking more than $9 million through that method in all, according to the DA.
But Bedi’s attorney, Anthony Giordano, said there were contracts for every dollar Davidson sent to his client, the AP reported.
Bedi is being held on $5 million bail. His next court date is Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Davidson is an heir three generations removed from the two brothers who founded Schlumberger Ltd., an oilfield services company that has its headquarters in Houston and offices in Paris and The Hague. The firm has 110,000 employees working in about 80 countries and had $27.5 billion in revenues in 2010.
Davidson, 59, says on his website that he began playing piano at age 4 and the violin at 8. He is a composer of classical and sacred music, and a jazz pianist who has also recorded Brazilian and tango music and most recently “On the Road of Life,” with the Frank London Klezmer Orchestra.
In 1997 Davidson launched Soundbrush Records, a label that won a Latin Grammy in 2007, and in 2000 he founded the Society for Universal Sacred Music, whose mission is “creating a repertoire of music to express the unity of God and especially His unconditional love for all humanity.”