Did you hear the one about the computer virus that was part of an Opus Dei plot?
It’s no joke for a New York couple who appear to have been scammed out of $6 million after falling for the ultimate tall tale, which all began in 2004 when they took a computer to a repair store in the small town of Mount Kisco.
One of the couple, Roger Davidson, was extremely wealthy thanks an inheritance from his great-grandfather, oil tycoon Conrad Schlumberger. According to prosecutors, the store’s owners Vickram Bedi and Helga Invarsdottir saw a sucker in the making and struck it rich.
The pair are alleged to have convinced Davidson that a virus on his machine had been specifically created to target him. They then told him that the virus had been tracked down to a Honduran village, which Bedi’s uncle had visited to retrieve the original source machine. While there, Bedi’s uncle supposedly discovered Davidson was the target of a plot which, in the words of reporter John E Dunn, involved “government intelligence agencies, foreign nationals and even priests associated with Catholic organization, Opus Dei.”
They are accused of then persuading Davidson to pay $160,000 a month to get protection against the plot. However, it’s not entirely clear how computer repair staff were qualified to offer such protection. Davidson later put the pair on the board of a music charity, giving them access to a $60 million trust fund.
Davidson continued making the payments until last month. Police say they have confirmed evidence showing Bedi and Invarsdottir took at least $6 million from him, but suspect the total may be as high as $20 million.
It’s not known if the virus was cleared up.