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Press Release

California Man Sentenced To 102 Months In Prison For Multimillion-Dollar Stolen Identity Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced earlier today that RUSSELL DWAYNE LEWIS, a/k/a “Clifford Ari Getz,” a/k/a “Clifford Ari Getz Cohen,” a/k/a “Ari Getz,” a/k/a “Aryeh Getz,” was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Laura Taylor Swain to 102 months in prison for defrauding multiple individuals out of millions of dollars over a period of years, using several aliases and stolen identities.  LEWIS previously pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identify theft.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Russell Dwayne Lewis orchestrated a sophisticated fraud and stolen identity scheme to engage in a pattern of serial fraud, seeking to defraud friends, associates, and a major corporation by lying about his identity, wealth, and business activities.  As today’s sentence demonstrates, serial fraudsters like Lewis will be caught and brought to justice for their crimes.”

According to the charging documents and other filings and statements made in court:

Between 2016 and 2020, RUSSELL DWAYNE LEWIS, a/k/a “Clifford Ari Getz,” a/k/a “Clifford Ari Getz Cohen,” a/k/a “Ari Getz,” a/k/a “Aryeh Getz,” engaged in a series of brazen schemes to misrepresent his identity, his wealth, and his professional and personal background in order to defraud multiple individuals and at least one corporate entity.  LEWIS used aliases for years, utilizing the name, birth date, and social security number of real individuals to perpetrate his schemes.  LEWIS told increasingly outrageous lies to individuals around him, including a close friend of many years, an individual who turned to him for his claimed expertise in astrology, and representatives of a major company he falsely purported to intend to purchase.

LEWIS repeatedly and falsely claimed that he was a billionaire businessman in order to commit several different frauds, including by soliciting “investments” from his victims totaling millions of dollars over the course of years.  As part of his fraudulent investment schemes, he defrauded and attempted to defraud friends, associates, and representatives of a major corporation.  In particular, LEWIS stole more than $3 million from one victim, more than half a million dollars from another, and fraudulently attempted to acquire a corporate entity in bankruptcy proceedings for $290 million.

This case resulted in LEWIS’s third felony conviction for fraud and theft offenses.

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In addition to the prison term, LEWIS, 53, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,788,143.58 and to forfeit the same amount of ill-gotten gains.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the Beverly Hills Police Department for its exceptional investigative assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller is in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated November 6, 2023

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 23-382