In August 2004, Roger C. Davidson walked into Datalink Computer Services in Mount Kisco, NY looking for help with his virus-plagued computer.
A pianist, Mr. Davidson, 58, is the founder and president of the Society for Universal Sacred Music, a nonprofit that brings together musicians from various faiths for festivals. He produced Raul Jaurenaâ€™s â€œTe Amo Tango,â€ which earned a Latin Grammy for Best Tango Album in 2007.
He is also a very wealthy oil heir. Davidson is the great-grandson and the great-grandnephew of the two brothers who founded Schlumberger Ltd. , a Houston-based oilfield services company that posted revenue of about $22.7 billion last year.
Mr. Davidson fretted that the music he had composed and saved on the computer could be lost. The owner of the shop, Vickram Bedi, 36, confirmed there was a virus on Mr. Davidson’s computer. Mr. Bedi told him it was so virulent that it also damaged Datalink’s computers.
Mr. Bedi told Mr. Davidson that he had tracked the source of the virus to a remote village in the Honduras. Mr. Bedi’s uncle–a military officer in India–had flown to the Honduras in a military aircraft and seized the hard drive.
Mr. Bedi’s uncle had learned that Polish priests tied to Opus Dei were targeting Mr. Davidson for assassination. The Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. Bedi told Mr. Davidson, were working with him to prevent the priests from infiltrating the United States government.
In addition to the thousands of dollars charged to secure Mr. Davidson’s computer, Mr. Bedi and his girlfriend, Helga Invarsdottir, 39, an Icelandic national, charged his American Express card $160,000 every month for bogus security and other services to provide 24-hour covert protection for Mr. Davidson and his family.
The scam could have netted anywhere from $6 to $20 million over a six-year period. Investigators are still sorting out accounts and evidence. Mr. Bedi had stashed $150,000 under his bed.
It is believed a relative of Mr. Davidson alerted police to the scam. (or blackmail? payoffs?)
In a jailhouse interview last week, Vickram Bedi told The Journal News that his accuser, Roger Davidson, gave him a fortune to shield Davidson from the fallout of importing $400 million from his family’s European tax shelter. Said Bedi, “Roger’s story is not accurate.”
“He was scared that there were e-mails in his computer and he wanted to see if the viruses had infected these e-mails and whether they had been broadcasted over the Internet,” Bedi said. “The e-mails were communications between his family members and their lawyers … basically detailing how the money had left the United States originally … and how the family planned to move the money back under the guise of an inheritance.”
The computer had “various viruses,” Bedi said, and Davidson believed the U.S. and French governments had planted them to seize evidence that could help them recover the unpaid taxes.
According to Bedi, Davidson also suspected the Roman Catholic order Opus Dei was “after him” because his uncle had joined the group and was seeking to punish his own family for not paying their taxes.
“He believed his uncle was trying to expose this fraud and hired high-tech hackers to complete this course,” Bedi said.
Davidson sought to hire Datalink to retrieve the information and protect him, Bedi said.
Davidson even made Bedi a trustee of a $60 million family trust meant to benefit Davidson and his children, according to legal papers.
“I never asked to be appointed trustee. This was done at his own behest because he liked us. We were keeping him calm,” Bedi said.
Bedi also received a $10.9 million contract, according to authorities. Bedi said this was a “gift” from Davidson, who he said also gave his girlfriend $1.8 million.
“He gave us this gift because we recovered his 30 years of music on his computer,” Bedi said. “Roger was generous with us.”
Upon giving those gifts, Bedi said, Davidson told him the IRS or French government would come after his family and that “at least he had done something good with this money.”