‘Billionaire rabbi’ whose ‘fantastical’ lies included a fake $290 million bid for Lord & Taylor and work for the CIA is sentenced

William of England
By William of England 4 Min Read

Russell Dwayne Lewis, 57, informed “increasingly fantastical and outrageous lies” to defraud pals and staff, culminating in a farcical try to purchase the storied retailer with nonexistent belongings, in response to prosecutors. Lewis, who glided by “Clifford Ari Getz,” informed victims of his fraud that he operated a secretive household funding agency, Neviim Equity, out of places of work in Beverly Hills, California.

Lewis, a high-school graduate from Texas, claimed he had grown up in London, and that he had earned a Ph.D. in theoretical arithmetic and statistics, and grasp’s levels in neurophysics, genetics and quantum physics. A convert to Judaism, Lewis claimed falsely that he was a rabbi.

“I know that you know the difference between right and wrong,” US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain stated Monday after saying the sentence in New York. “Lying, stealing, cheating are wrong, and you’re paying a heavy price for that.”

The sentence matched the request by prosecutors. A lawyer for Lewis had requested for lower than the 7 1/4 years really helpful by federal sentencing pointers. Lewis has agreed to forfeit the $3.8 million he stole together with some art work that was present in his Beverly Hills residence.

Fake Identity, CIA

Prosecutors claimed Lewis stole the identification of a man named Clifford Getz, used the Social Security variety of a 13-year-old boy in Ohio and solid a passport. He boasted that he was value $10 billion, $18 billion and even $30 billion, relying on whom he was speaking to.

Lewis claimed falsely to have labored for the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Secret Service and the Los Angeles Police Department, prosecutors stated. He additionally claimed he used his information of astrology to assist decide the jury for the 1995 O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, in response to the authorities. The defrauded widow initially got here to him for his claimed astrological experience.

Lewis didn’t plead responsible to creating his allegedly phony chapter courtroom bid to accumulate Lord and Taylor, the almost 200-year-old retailer that folded in 2020, although prosecutors used it of their sentencing papers. The Lord & Taylor deal was by no means closed and Lewis made no cash from it. Under his plea settlement with prosecutors, the cost associated to the bogus bid was dropped.

When Lewis made the bid, it was effectively above what the Lord & Taylor group anticipated. Lord & Taylor, its attorneys, bankers and different advisers spent a lot of August 2020 in calls with Lewis and his folks, doing due diligence and making an attempt to determine if the deal was workable. Lord & Taylor’s representatives wasted hundreds of {dollars} and weeks of time evaluating the proposed deal, prosecutors stated.

Prosecutors stated Lewis despatched a solid letter from a overseas financial institution claiming that it held a whole lot of tens of millions of euros belonging to him. 

In the finish, an funding agency, Saadia Group, agreed to pay simply $12 million for Lord & Taylor’s mental property and e-commerce belongings.

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