CNN

She faked a rejection letter from her ex-boyfriend’s dream school. Now she has to pay him $265,000

Jun 18, 2018, 8:18 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:01 pm
Eric Abramovitz...
Eric Abramovitz

(CNN) – Eric Abramovitz’s hard work had paid off: The accomplished clarinet player had been accepted to his dream school. But he never got to hear the good news.

That’s because when his acceptance email arrived in 2014, Abramovitz’s then-girlfriend, Jennifer Lee, deleted it and sent him a fake rejection email from the school. It was a $265,000 mistake.

“It was really devastating to feel that incredible betrayal,” Abramovitz told CNN. “It made me think of our whole relationship and it made me feel like everything might have been a lie.”

Where it began

A college sophomore studying music at McGill University at the time, Abramovitz had applied to a two-year, full-scholarship program to finish his bachelor’s degree at Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. Itching to study with a renowned clarinet teacher, Abramovitz spent many late nights in practice rooms to prepare for his audition, which he thought went well.

The full scholarship — which includes tuition, room and board — is worth about $50,000 a year and Abramovitz said graduating from Colburn would have set him up for a high-paying symphony career. When he was rejected, Abramovitz said he was crushed.

“It was a disappointing feeling,” Abramovitz said. “I had such high hopes.”

Abramovitz would have studied under Yehuda Gilad, who is considered one of the best clarinet instructors in the world, he said. Gilad accepts only two new students each year at Colburn, and Abramovitz was one of them.

How she covered her tracks

This Wednesday, a Canadian court ruled that Abramovitz’s ex-girlfriend owed him more than $265,000 (350,000 Canadian dollars) for damages including loss of reputation, educational opportunity and two years of potential income. Roughly US$37,000 of that final amount was added on by the judge for Lee’s “despicable interference” in Abramovitz’s career.

To convince Abramovitz that Colburn had rejected him, his girlfriend posed as Abramovitz and replied to the school’s acceptance email, writing that he would not accept the scholarship because he planned to “be elsewhere.” Then she deleted the acceptance email from Abramovitz’s inbox.

Lee went one step further, creating a fake email address for Yehuda Gilad: giladyehuda09@gmail.com, and sending Abramovitz a rejection email that offered him a spot at the University of Southern California with a $5,000 scholarship instead. Tuition at USC is more than $50,000, a price Abramovitz said his girlfriend would have known he could not afford.

“It still puzzles me why she even added that,” Abramovitz said. “She knew it wouldn’t be realistic, so I had to turn that down even though it wasn’t real.”

Defeated, Abramovitz completed his studies at McGill. He and Lee broke up a few months later for unrelated reasons, he said.

The moment it all came together

Fast forward two years to 2016, when Abramovitz auditioned for a graduate program at USC, where Gilad also teaches. Abramovitz still had no idea his rejection from Colburn was fake. Each man thought they had been rejected by the other.

Abramovitz described a confusing scene at his USC audition in which Gilad asked why he was there, because he had rejected Colburn, and in turn, his instruction.

“With all due respect, I believe you rejected me,” Abramovitz said he told Gilad.

He said Gilad repeated that it had been the other way around. Abramovitz figured Gilad was confusing him with another student.

It wasn’t until Abramovitz’s classmates asked why he had rejected the Colburn offer that he began to think something was fishy. He went back through his emails and forwarded the rejection he had received in 2014 to Gilad, who said he had never written it.

“I knew I’d been had, but I was still far from knowing by who,” Abramovitz said.

His friends became involved in the case and suggested his ex-girlfriend might have played a role.

“It was scary to even confront that thought given how much I trusted her, but over time it started to sink in and I became more and more suspicious that maybe she had done it, as unpleasant as it was to imagine,” Abramovitz said.

Abramovitz tested some of his ex’s old passwords to sign into the account that sent the rejection email two years earlier, and that’s when the pieces started coming together. The account’s recovery information was his girlfriend’s email and phone number.

“It was a simultaneous stab to the back and the heart,” Abramovitz said. “It really was the last person I would have wanted to find out it was.”

When served with the initial lawsuit, Lee did not respond to Abramovitz’s lawyers, so she lost by default. Under Canadian law, a defendant in default “is deemed to admit the truth of all allegations of fact” made in the plaintiff’s claim.

CNN made attempts to locate Lee, but she could not be reached for comment.

The process was long, Abramovitz said, but he hasn’t let the experience affect the way he trusts people.

A bright future

Today, Abramovitz has a new girlfriend.

“We are coming up on two years soon and it is a really healthy relationship with trust and honesty,” Abramovitz said. “I’d like to think my judgment of character has improved a little bit.”

Abramovitz has also found success in his professional life. He won a position with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and was recently appointed the associate principal clarinetist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Abramovitz says he doesn’t “harbor any ill feelings” towards his former girlfriend and hopes she can learn from the experience and live a more honest life.

“Despite what happened I think I landed on my feet and the trajectory I’m on is still what I wanted for myself,” he said.

(2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

CNN

Lindsay Lohan thinks you should try Pilk.
(Pepsi)...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Pepsi wants you to drink soda mixed with milk this holiday season

Pepsi launched a campaign Thursday encouraging customers to try the combination of milk and pepsi for a holiday concoction.
1 day ago
Mauna Loa spewing lava on Tuesday. (Courtesy: Paradise Helicopters via )...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava spilling toward key Hawaiian highway, but the gov says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
1 day ago
A Mcdonalds restaurant with big golden arches in Logan, Utah....
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

This is what McDonald’s drive-thru of the future could look like

McDonald's is hoping a drive-thru lane with a food conveyor belt, a pickup room for delivery workers and a shelf where people can grab their orders will make life easier for customers on the go.
1 day ago
Jason David Frank's cause of death is revealed by his wife. Jason David Frank is pictured here in N...
Lisa Respers France, CNN

Jason David Frank’s cause of death revealed by his wife

Jason David Frank's wife has confirmed that the "Power Rangers" star's death was a result of suicide.
1 day ago
A general view of the city skyline is seen with the lights switched on just before the Earth Hour e...
Lilit Marcus, CNN

These are the world’s most expensive cities to live in 2022

Here are this year's top 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
1 day ago
The four escapee cubs celebrated their first birthday this summer along with sibling Ayanna who sta...
Hafsa Khalil, CNN

New footage reveals how 5 lions escaped their Sydney zoo enclosure

The Great Escape always brings prisoner-of-war Steve McQueen to mind, but perhaps the real masters of breaking out are five lions who absconded from their enclosure at a Sydney zoo last month.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
She faked a rejection letter from her ex-boyfriend’s dream school. Now she has to pay him $265,000