It may sound like a long-lost episode of “Seinfeld” starring Paul Newman, but the New York State Attorney General’s office announced Thursday that an alleged fake architect has been indicted for fraudulent activities in three counties.
Dubbed “Operation Vandelay Industries,” the investigation charged Paul J. Newman with 58 counts of forgery, fraud, larceny and unlicensed practice of architecture in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. Newman allegedly amassed about $200,000 in fake design services since 2010 and affixed forged state registered architect or professional engineer stamps to more than 1,000 building plans and inspections, according to a release from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
“As we allege, 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.
Newman, if convicted, faces between 5 and 15 years in prison.
While the allegations are serious and affected hundreds of New Yorkers, we can’t help but be wowed by several similarities to the beloved sitcom, “Seinfeld,” which ended its nine-season run in 1998.
1. “Operation Vandelay Industries” pays homage to Vandelay Industries, the fictional company Jason Alexander’s George Costanza character pretended to have been interviewed by to nab an extension of his unemployment benefits in season three.
2. In season one, George declared he had dreams of becoming an architect or “pretend to be an architect.” In season six, he even falsely claimed to have designed “the new addition of the Guggenheim” Museum.
3. The alleged fraudulent architect, Paul Newman, not only shares his first and last name with late film icon Paul Newman, but he also has the same last name as Jerry Seinfeld’s “Seinfeld” nemesis, postal worker Newman.
As Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character Elaine would say, “Get out!”