Friday, November 19, 2010, AM | 6 Comments
Scam resulting in family financial crisis knows no prejudice, knows no national boundaries. It can be financially disastrous and can happen to anyone. Over the years, many folks, with supposedly good judgment, have been scammed. Many investors trusted their financial advisers, someone like Bernie Madoff, and were defrauded of millions and billions of dollars. In that case, gullibility plays less on the part of the investors and trust plays more as people trusted Madoff with every cent in their possession.
A New York couple have been charged with defrauding a wealthy pianist to the tune of $20 million after he visited their computer servicing company to have a virus removed from his laptop.
The story has three characters, two defendants and a plaintiff:
- The plaintiff Roger Davidson, a wealthy pianist and heir to the Schlumberger Ltd. Oil Fortune.
- Defendant Vickram Bedi owned a computer store Datalink Computers in Chappaqua, New York. Some reports put the store in Mount Kisco, NY.
- His alleged accomplice and defendant Icelandic Helga Ingvarsdottir who happened to be Vickram’s girlfriend.
On learning of Davidson’s wealth, the pair are alleged to have concocted an elaborate social engineering scam that defrauded him of somewhere between the $6 million the police have been able to confirm with an upper figure of as much as $20 million.
Here is how the story goes…
In 2004 Roger was having problems with a computer virus, so he took the hard drive to the couple’s store. Davidson claimed he knew nothing about computers. However, he seemed to know a lot about downloading porn. He was worried about losing what was on his computer. That included not only years of hard work of his music sheets but years of porn as well.
Three things Roger was worried about losing:
Years of music he had written.
Information and copies of e-mails between Davidson’s family and lawyers about trying to transfer a chunk of family money to the U.S. from Lichtenstein (a tiny independent state between Switzerland and Austria), where it seemed they were taking a little break from a lot of tax problems, in several countries.
His hard drive also had massive “hard” amounts of porn on it.
To Roger, all the above were important but having seen so many “whodunit” and horror movies, I believe items 2 and 3 seem to be more important than the first. Sorry Roger! That’s my personal opinion.
There might be more than meets the eye…
On the surface of the story, the couple scammed Roger not once but continually for close to six years. A wise person can be had but only once. It’s hard to believe the guy was “milked” for so many years. The couple had finally found a cash cow to milk. Way to go Vickram and Helga.
There might be skeletons in someone’s closet. Most probably in the rich man’s closet in the form of the last two items above. Why else would he spend millions on just removing virus?
Let’s look at Boston Consulting Group Matrix
In the Boston Consulting Group Matrix above, cash cow is the bottom left quadrant. I was taught in business school in rather much detail what a cash cow was. The teacher defined it as: “Cash cows are units with high market share in a slow-growing industry.” These units typically generate cash much more than needed to maintain the business unit. In other words, they are in essence money-making machines for years to come.
The CEO of the company would look at the cash cow, in a “mature” market, being staid and boring. Without spending more money, every corporation would be thrilled to own as many as possible.
In the diagram, I would put Roger left of Eviron but above it…
However, Vickram foresaw continued market growth in servicing Roger “virus” and he did it for six years. He saw an opportunity of high growth and high market share. Consequently, he attended to the pianist’s “virus” wholeheartedly. He kept scanning the hard drive as well as Roger’s bank account.
To Vikram, the cash cow was not staid and boring but was exciting to its fullest. As long as his scanning found cash in Roger bank account, he kept working at the virus. Vickram probably thought the day he found no more cash in Roger bank account, he would remove the virus. Who says American ingenuity is dead? On the contrary, it is at its best when it starts scanning. American ingenuity knows no limit. MBA’s of the world! Eat your heart out.
The couple have to be commended…
Therefore, we can say that Vickram saw it differently than a typical CEO of a company. Roger was undoubtedly a cash cow. That is very well established being heir to millions. But the musician still had the potential of continued market growth. For Vickram and his partner, the pianist “virus” was growing in market share relative to their own computer business. Wouldn’t that be a dream of every CEO, especially the McAfee’s and the Norton’s of the world?
The couple have to be commended in this regard to execute their plan so efficiently and for so many years. They found an opportunity and they took advantage of it. Isn’t that the American way? Maybe they did it their way but they did it anyway. They seemed to fully understand the BCG Matrix. They seemed to have followed the American dream which for many “don’t exist no more.”
Both defendants seemed to be smart just like CEO of a company. As far as the plaintiff, I don’t think he was gullible. Look at items 2 and 3 above again and think about it. The repercussion of not being able to get taxes and porn “problems” off the laptop might have been devastating not only to Roger as heir to millions, probably billions, but to his whole family in general.
Roger seemed to be interested in taxes and porn whereas his family only in taxes. Maybe Roger and family have already incurred the wrath of the virus that he so diligently tried to have removed. That has to be seen.
In a Nutshell
I am certainly not condoning what Vickram and company did in all honesty but we have to look at both sides of the picture and analyze it. Other than that, I don’t give a f****** shit what happens to any of them. Who gives a shit? The way I see it is both parties seem to have skeletons in their respective closets.
There is definitely more than meets the eye. Stay tuned, folks! The story will unfold one day or maybe not. Remember! Roger is heir to millions. He is going to try to hide items 2 and 3 above. He does not seem to be gullible at all as the media have been portraying him. We will see.Facebook.com/doable.finance