A Chappaqua man has admitted to defrauding a pianist and composer of $20 million in a scheme that included tales of international intrigue and threats to the victim's livelihood, all based in a fiction about a computer virus.
When the computer of Roger Davidson, 60, became infected with a virus in 2004, he took it to Mount Kisco-based Datalink Computer Products, where the company's owner, Vickram Bedi, told Davidson the virus was particularly dangerous, according to the Westchester district attorney's office.
Davidson is a musician whose family founded the oil conglomerate Schlumberger.
"This defendant, over a six-year period, preyed upon, schemed and manipulated his victim in ways that epitomize a cold calculating con man," District Attorney Janet DiFiore said after the defendant's guilty plea.
According to authorities, Bedi, 38, led Davidson to believe that he had tracked the source of the virus to a remote village in Honduras, eventually embroidering his story to include threats made against Davidson by Polish priests affiliated with Opus Dei and surveillance of Davidson by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Meanwhile, Bedi convinced Davidson to start paying, not only for computer data retrieval, but also for personal security, DiFiore's office said. At the same time, Bedi began regularly charging Davidson's American Express credit card accounts, using the money to purchase real estate in Mount Kisco and various other investments, said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.
The Harrison Police Department was tipped off to the scam in July 2010, when associates of Davidson's caught up in his business dealings with Bedi alerted authorities, Chalfen said.
Bedi and his ex-girlfriend, Helga Invarsdottir, 41, also of Chappaqua, were arrested in November of that year.
"The systematic method with which the defendant continued the larceny over a period of years, along with the sizable amount of money that was stolen, was nothing short of Machiavellian," DiFiore said.
Invarsdottir was charged with one count of first-degree grand larceny and one count of second-degree grand larceny, the release said.
Bedi, who admitted to the scam late Tuesday, was charged with one count of grand first-degree larceny. Authorities have seized anything that was purchased with the stolen money, Chalfen said.
Both are to be sentenced in January.
A message left for Bedi's Ossining-based attorney, Anthony Giordano, was not immediately returned Wednesday.