It’s real news — and it’s spectacular.
A fake architect named Newman was charged by the New York Attorney General’s office Thursday with nearly 60 counts of larceny and fraud in a Seinfeldian sting Eric Schneiderman dubbed “Operation Vandelay Industries.”
Paul J. Newman rendered “fraudulent architecture and design services” for nearly a decade, collecting nearly $200,000 from over 100 commercial and residential clients in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties, Schneiderman’s office charged.
And there’s definitely something wrong with that, he said in a press release that did not “yada-yada” over the best parts.
“For over seven years the defendant has pretended to be a Registered Architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers — including families and senior citizens — with the sole goal of enriching himself,” Schneiderman said.
And there won’t be any serenity — now, or later — for Newman, Schneiderman suggested.
“By allegedly falsifying building plans, code compliance inspections, and field reports, the defendant jeopardized the safety of those who resided in and frequented the buildings he was contracted to work on. Deceptive actions like these erode public trust,” Schneiderman said.
“And my office will not tolerate them,” he added.
In three indictments unsealed Thursday, Newman, the President of Cohesion Studios, Inc., was charged with 58 counts of larceny, forgery, fraud and unlicensed practice of architecture
If convicted of worst charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
In a comical twist, however, Schneiderman dubbed the operation to take down Newman “Vandelay Industries” — a reference to a fictional company from “Seinfeld.”
In an episode in the show’s third season, George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, lies to his unemployment caseworker, telling her he was interviewed for a latex salesman job at a company called “Vandelay Industries.”
Later, in an episode in the seventh season, Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, tries to help George hide his rendezvous with Marisa Tomei by coordinating an elaborate lie that includes an alibi that George was helping Elaine with problems with her boyfriend, Art Vandelay, who is an importer-exporter.
The lie falls apart when George and Elaine tell Susan that the fictional boyfriend imports and exports different items.