Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

April 22, 2013

Calif. man to enter plea in W.Va. extortion case

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A California man who allegedly tried to extort $13 million from a West Virginia coal executive is now expected to enter a plea.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger has scheduled a May 9 hearing in Beckley for aspiring actor Vivek Shah. He had been set to stand trial May 13.

All court filings in the case have been sealed. Shah has gone through several attorneys since he was arrested last year, and a motion to postpone his trial was recently denied.

The 25-year-old from West Hollywood was charged with threatening to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, owner of Foresight Reserves coal company, if Cline refused to pay the $13 million.

Prosecutors say Shah targeted four other wealthy victims from Connecticut, Illinois, Texas and Florida, but they haven't identified them.

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