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'Operation Vandelay Industries' nabs fake architect named Newman

George Costanza may think "it's not a lie if you believe it," but New York's attorney general disagrees.

In a case containing one Seinfeld echo after another, a New York man named Paul Newman is accused of being a fake architect who bilked his client out of nearly $200,000.

NBC

In a case containing one Seinfeld echo after another, a New York man named Paul Newman is accused of being a fake architect who bilked his client out of nearly $200,000.

Fake news? No, this is real — and it’s spectacular.

George Costanza may think "it's not a lie if you believe it," but New York's attorney general disagrees. In a press released marbled with Seinfeld lore, Eric Schneiderman announced that a fake architect named Paul J. Newman faces nearly 60 charges courtesy of a sting named “Operation Vandelay Industries.”

Hello, Newman. Paul J. Newman, the president of Cohesion Industries, face nearly 60 charges after a distinctly Seinfeld-themed sting.

Contributed

Hello, Newman. Paul J. Newman, the president of Cohesion Industries, face nearly 60 charges after a distinctly Seinfeld-themed sting.

Newman is accused of bilking nearly $200,000 from dozens of clients who paid him for “fraudulent architecture and design services,” the release alleges.

“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,” Schneiderman said.

“Deceptive actions like these erode public trust.”

The investigation earned its Must See TV moniker from a bogus latex company invented by Seinfeld’s George Costanza to deceive his unemployment caseworker. Like many of Can’t Stand Ya’s schemes, Vandelay Industries went badly awry.

The name was resurrected several times in later episodes, including the “importer-exporter” Art Vandelay, a fake boyfriend of Elaine’s who was part of a ruse intended to cover up George’s attempted tryst with Marisa Tomei. That racket, of course, tripped over the details and into crashing failure.

But most importantly, as any Seinfeld fan knows, an architect is George Costanza’s highest ambition when it comes to fake jobs to impress people.  

The real Newman has been charged with 58 counts of larceny, forgery, fraud and unlicensed practice of architecture. If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces the prospect of spending up to 15 Festivuses in the same place the Seinfeld gang ended up.

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