clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alleged ‘fake architect’ charged in ‘Seinfeld’-esque scam

“Vandelay! Say Vandelay!”

Screengrab of TV show of a man (Kramer) and woman (Elaine) on the couch looking at another man (George) prone on the floor with his boxers on and his pants around his ankles, and another man, Jerry, walking in the front door.
The moment in “Seinfeld” when George’s scam falls apart.
Screengrab from YouTube/TBS

This week in New York, a man has been accused of claiming to be an architect, while defrauding over 100 commercial and residential clients in the state of more than $200,000. In charging the defendant, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman displayed quite the sense of humor, dubbing the case “Operation Vandelay Industries,” a reference to a fake company in the hit sitcom “Seinfeld.”

According to a statement from the Attorney General’s office, Paul J. Newman, the “fake architect” whose surname happens to be the name of series protagonist Jerry Seinfeld’s neighbor and occasional nuisance in the show, had, allegedly, for over seven years:

Pretended to be a registered architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers—including families and senior citizens—with the sole goal of enriching himself. 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.

Although the charges against Newman are no laughing matter, sometimes life imitates art in absurd ways.

On one memorable episode of the sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld’s best friend, George Costanza, makes up the fictional Vandelay Industries, a latex company that he supposedly interviewed at for a job, in order to boost his professional credibility. This scheme hilariously falls apart by the end of the episode (the GIF in Schneiderman’s tweet is in reference to this moment).

In other episodes, George pretends to be an architect. Though the two storylines are not directly related, the real-life connections to the show were apparently too juicy for Schneiderman to ignore.

Via: The New York Times