Billionaire Rabbi Astrologer Impersonator Sentenced to Eight-and-a-Half Years for $3.8 Million Fraud

Billionaire Rabbi Astrologer Impersonator Sentenced to Eight-and-a-Half Years for $3.8 Million Fraud

Billionaire Rabbi Astrologer Impersonator Sentenced for $3.8 Million Fraud

A conman, Russell Dwayne Lewis, 53, has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for his role in a fraudulent scheme that saw him impersonate a billionaire rabbi astrologer.

Lewis defrauded victims, including a widow with four children, out of $3.8 million between 2016 and 2020.

U.S. District Chief Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced him and ordered him to repay the defrauded amount.

A Web of Deceit and Outrageous Lies

Russell Dwayne Lewis spun a web of deception using various aliases and stolen identities, such as Ari Getz and Clifford Ari Getz Cohen.

He posed as a billionaire businessman, falsely claiming to have earned a Ph.D. in theoretical mathematics and statistics, having grown up in London, and operating a secretive family investment firm in Beverly Hills called Neviim Equity.

Lewis also falsely asserted he was a rabbi and boasted of a net worth ranging from $10 billion to $30 billion on different occasions.

Brazen Claims and Stolen Identities

In his fraudulent activities, Lewis claimed to have worked for prestigious organizations such as the CIA, the Secret Service, and the LAPD.

He even asserted that he was an expert astrologer, alleging that he had leveraged his astrological skills to help select the jury for the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial.

To carry out his deception, Lewis stole the identity of a man named Clifford Getz, forged a passport, and used the Social Security number of a 13-year-old boy from Ohio.

Financial Ruin and Destitution

One of Lewis’s victims was a widow with four children whom he met in 2016 through purported astrological reading services.

Convincing her that it was her destiny to have her mortgage paid off, he swindled approximately $555,000 from her under the guise of an investment opportunity that did not exist.

Lewis defrauded a businessman of over $3 million, while the widow lost over $550,000, leading both victims to financial ruin.

Failed Bid for Lord & Taylor

In 2020, Lewis made a fraudulent $290 million bid to purchase the struggling department store Lord & Taylor after it filed for bankruptcy.

This led to weeks of due diligence processes, legal discussions, and negotiations, costing the company thousands of dollars.

Lewis sent a fraudulent bank letter, falsely claiming to represent an international bank with millions of euros in his name.

The deal was never completed, and the charge related to Lord & Taylor was dropped under Lewis’s plea agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecution and Defense

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams emphasized that serial fraudsters like Lewis would face justice for their crimes.

Lewis’s lawyer, Julie Rendelman, stated that he had taken responsibility for his actions and expressed remorse for the harm caused to his victims.

Conclusion: Justice for the Victims

The case highlights the extent to which a conman used deception and stolen identities to defraud victims, causing financial hardship and distress.

The sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed by Russell Dwayne Lewis.

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