(NationalUSNews.com) — A serial scammer will spend over eight years in prison for scamming a widow for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The scammer in question is 57-year-old Russell Dwayne Lewis, who has used a variety of aliases to scam multiple people over the years. Among Lewis’s preferred aliases are names like “Ari Getz” and “Clifford Ari Getz Cohen,” which Lewis stole from an actual person with the same name.
According to authorities, Lewis committed a string of crimes, including forgery and stealing a child’s social security number. One of Lewis’ victims is a widow, whom he convinced he was an experienced astrologer who could provide her with reputable financial advice. Lewis scammed the wealthy widow out of $500,000 by promising her financial freedom through his readings and assuring the widow his advice would help her pay off her mortgage.
According to prosecutors, Lewis’ career as a scammer began in 2016. Authorities claim that Lewis told people he once served in the military, worked with an unnamed billionaire, spent time working for the Central Intelligence Agency, had billions of dollars in various bank accounts, and consulted Los Angeles authorities in various cases. Lewis also portrayed himself as a rabbi throughout many of his scams. Lewis even told the widow that he was directly involved with the jury selection for the infamous trial of O.J. Simpson and used his expertise in astrology to assist the court.
Prosecutors claim Lewis began experimenting with more extravagant scams when the convicted conman attempted to buy Lord & Taylor, a centuries-old department store, after the business declared bankruptcy in 2020. Authorities considered Lewis’ offer to purchase the bankrupt business for almost $300 million too good to be true, and upon investigating the scammer’s finances, authorities found that Lewis lied about his finances and even had a cover story about his money being kept in a foreign bank.
Lewis never admitted to scamming Lord & Taylor with his purchase offer, but the convicted scammer did admit to conning multiple people, including the widow. According to Lewis, the scammer earned approximately $3.8 million from tricking his victims with fantastical claims and charisma. Despite the convicted con man’s extravagant lies, authorities claim Lewis went to high school in Texas and relied on tricking desperate people for money.
Lewis will now spend eight and a half years in prison for his crimes and is required to pay his victims back for the money he stole from them.
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