An Icelandic woman who is in her late thirties was arrested with her boyfriend in the US on Thursday for extensive extortion. The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs has confirmed the arrest to Fréttabladid.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
According to US news website patch.com, the police in Harrison, New York, claim the couple defrauded up to USD 20 million (ISD 2.2 billion, EUR 14 million) from their victim, although the prosecutor’s office in Westchester said the amount is USD 6 million (ISK 669 million, EUR 4 million).
The couple is charged with having extorted money from the heir of an oil company for a number of years and might be facing a prison sentence of 25 years.
Harrison police say that the case has been under investigation since August. After a raid of the couple’s house in Chappaqua and their computer repair company ISK 17 million (USD 152,000, EUR 110,000) in cash, vehicles and jewelry were confiscated.
The prosecutor said at a press conference yesterday that the accused defrauded money from the victim with complicated lies.
According to patch.com, the victim contacted the couple’s company when his computer was infected with a virus in 2004. The couple quickly came up with a lie telling the victim that his family was in grave danger.
The lie involved the man telling the victim he had traced the virus to a computer in a village in Honduras and that he sent his uncle, who was in the Indian army, to Honduras to destroy the computer.
There his uncle met Polish priests who had connections with the Catholic religious sect Opus Dei, the man claimed, adding that he had started working with the CIA himself to uproot the plot of the Polish priests. He even convinced the victim to hire him as a bodyguard, as stated on visir.is.
Urdur Gunnarsdóttir, information officer at the Icelandic Foreign Ministry, confirmed that an Icelandic woman was arrested in the US and that her family in Iceland has been contacted to assist them during the following proceedings.