Never paid the bills
Eventually, Sorrentino learned what had really been going on.
Aronson had acquired her personal information, such as her social security number, when he helped her refinance her previous house. When he moved into her new home, Aronson never paid the bills as they had agreed $6,200 was due for the property taxes and $1,000 was due for the cable TV. Aronson never paid the electric bill either the power was about to be turned off.
Aronson applied for the first credit card in Sorrentino’s name on July 18, 2012, while her stepson was just recuperating from the bleeding in his brain. The statements were sent to a rented mailbox that was the mystery address Sorrentino found. And he set up a phone number in Sorrentino’s name, but calls were transferred to his cell phone. So Sorrentino never saw the statements or received calls when the bills were past due.
When Sorrentino gave Aronson cash for groceries, he kept the cash and charged the food to one of the credit cards. And when Aronson took Sorrentino’s business bank deposit to the bank for her, he skimmed the cash and just deposited the checks. The bank account for the salon was short about $4,000.
Plus, Sorrentino said Aronson offered to sell her tennis bracelets one with diamonds, the other with diamonds and rubies. They’re gone, but Aronson denies taking them, and Sorrentino has no proof. “It’s my word against his,” she said.
Sorrentino was outraged that Aronson stole from her. But what she found truly mind-boggling was how he lavishly spent money that he didn’t have.
Aronson flew Sorrentino’s daughter and her boyfriend from Philadelphia to Dallas to watch a professional football game. When Sorrentino’s mother wanted to visit Disneyworld with her family, Aronson rented a mansion for them to stay in.
“He was doing these things,” Sorrentino said, incredulously, “adding more to the debt when he didn’t need to.”
All along, he’d been spinning a web of lies, bragging about making million dollar mortgages, and earning thousands of dollars in commissions. He painted a picture of financial stability, even wealth.
Sorrentino now doesn’t know if Aronson was working at all.
Sorrentino went to the police, and they put a warrant out for Aronson’s arrest. When he didn’t turn himself in, the police asked Sorrentino to help with a sting: If she could convince Aronson to come to her house, they would pick him up.
As soon as Aronson drove up, the police were there. “He was arrested right in front of me,” Sorrentino says.
Aronson was charged with theft by deception, credit card fraud and identity theft.
“Now he blames me for everything,” Sorrentino said. “He blames Lisa, my employee, saying it’s all her fault for putting things in my head. He doesn’t understand why I won’t help him, instead of throwing him away. I don’t like liars.”
Aronson also gave her a bizarre explanation for his behavior.
“After he admitted what he had done, he said he couldn’t keep up with my spending,” she continued. “I’m frugal. But he said he couldn’t keep up with my way of life, so he had to do this. Oh my God!”
Letter to the lawyer
Aronson tried to manipulate his way out of trouble. He prepared a document to have Sorrentino transfer the credit card balances to his name as if the credit card companies would ever agree to that.
Sorrentino refused to speak to him, so Aronson sent letters to her attorney. In one he wrote:
As you will see I accepted responsibility for what I did and even though I was diagnosed bipolar and what I did was part of a manic episode brought on by stress and depression. All of our family was going through a lot during this time given what was happening and a lot of emotions were going on and a lot of my emotions was brought on by seeing Lisa’s stepson going through what he was with a brain tumor which is the same thing my mother died from years ago and at that time I was not able to do anything for her since I was not living here but in another state at the time. Also there were other factors as well and all I have wanted to do since all of this happened was to be able to explain myself to Lisa and everyone but I have been pushed out by all those who were my family. I begged for help and no one will listen to me. This whole episode I have lost my family, my self-respect, self-esteem, and disrespected the memory of Lisa’s stepson and his father who I thought of as a father who I could talk to when I needed help in the past when I was going through tough times or just needed advise (sic). I never meant for any of this to happen and wish and pray every day that it did not.
All I am trying to show is I wanted to fix this long ago. I was told that this could sit for a long time before it gets fixed and I don’t want that. I just wanted to have this debt put in my name and so I can make the payments like I was already doing. You deal with medical cases and I am sure you may or may not know about bipolar but not everyone is the same and that is what is not understood by anyone. None of this was in my nature to do and all I wanted was to do was have the people who were supposed to be family to be there to at least support me and to listen to me and what I have to say especially Lisa who I love with all my heart and never wanted to hurt her or put her through more pain that (sic) she has already been through. But there were a lot of factors involved with all of this and it could have been done if I was not pushed out without even being able to talk. As I stated there are too many emotions with all of this on all parts and there is no question that all of us need to be counseled as a family given all that has happened. And having my name slandered is not how you help someone get better.
In a plea bargain, Gary J. Aronson pleaded guilty to identity theft, and the other charges were dismissed.
Sorrentino attended his sentencing on November 12, 2013. Aronson got five years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution for the $78,000 in fraudulent charges. But what Aronson apparently didn’t realize when he made the deal was that the restitution would be collected by the court, not the credit card companies.
“When Gary heard that, he turned white,” Sorrentino said.
Exploited when vulnerable
Sorrentino now realizes that Aronson took advantage of her when she was vulnerable. She believed that this man was providing her with companionship and support as she endured so much heartbreak and change. In reality, she was being exploited.
“When I first realized it was him, I was angry,” Sorrentino said. “I was upset because I allowed this man into my family.”
But what most infuriated her was the fact that he stole from the business.
“That’s where I really drew the line,” she said. “You touched my husband. That’s where my anger and venom came out.
“That shop in my eyes will always be Joe. He worked it. I was devastated. I was hysterical. When I found out he went into my business Joe’s account that threw me over the edge.”
Filling the void
When her husband died, Sorrentino had a void in her heart that she wanted to fill.
“Joe and I had a great marriage,” Sorrentino said. “We were best friends. We worked together. After 25 years we still liked each other. We didn’t need other people in our life. That’s where it got dangerous.
“It’s not that you want a relationship,” she continued. “It has nothing to do with being sexual. It has to do with companionship, a friend, someone you want to be with.
“You get so caught up with it after it’s gone. You’re still in husband-wife-family mode, and it’s taken away from you. You want that again.”
Sorrentino now realizes that people who are widowed, especially if their marriage was good, are at risk.
“You’re not making rational decisions,” she said. “I wish I had somebody that had been through it. You’re really not as ready as you think you are. You’re mourning. You’re still adjusting to the new norm. That’s where I made the mistake.
“I trusted him,” Sorrentino said. “But he wasn’t my husband and I should have never trusted him that way.”
Donna, thank you for this article.
I became a widow in 2010 after my husband battled cancer for 2 years. We also worked together in Christian ministry for many years. We were married for 22 1/2 years, have 3 children and he was my best friend, as well.
The spath that I got involved with came shortly after the death of my husband. He was someone that I had gone to High School many years ago and had not talked to him since then. Some of my high school friends sent out a prayer request for me and my family when I was going through all of the ordeal. He contacted my on FB and said all the right things, like “I’m praying for you” etc. He started contacting me by FB and sending messages. That was the first hook. I thought he was genuine!
We had a 2 1/2 relationship that was the worst experience of my life! I didn’t loose any fiancés. But still, it was unbelievable what he put me and my family through. I am so thankful for Lovefraud because it helped me by educating me on what I was dealing with and helping me in recovering.
It has been a year this month that I went total No Contact. I am soooo thankful for this and have continued to heal. I do still think about him and I have to remind myself that what I fell in love with was not a real person. The deception is so hard to understand. The article stated “You’re still in husband-wife-family mode, and it’s taken away from you. You want that again.” That was me exactly! In fact, spath would say, “I just want a family!” UGh!!
I still read here often but I haven’t posted in a while.
I am very thankful for the recovery I have had so far and want to continue. One of the things I still deal with is the triggers! Things that happen or just reminders of what was…… It can still be a battle in my mind.
Blessing to all those who are recovering!!
“To Be Free” is now FREE!!
I’m terribly sorry about what happened to Lisa, that’s got to hurt a lot more than I can understand since I’ve never been in that situation. If there is anything additional to take away, it’s simply to thoroughly check someone out BEFORE getting serious. There are several books on how to get reliable info about people in a good and ethical way, as well as professional services.
I have no connection whatsoever with these two people or businesses, but there are two resources in the LoveFraud directory that look extremely good for those who want to get the info about their significant other –
The other resource in the LoveFraud resources guide is here:
Thanks, Russconte, for linking to my (Elaine Walker) profile. Even though it’s not legal to do a financial background check without the subject’s consent, an asset check can show whether the subject really owns that mansion and sports car they claim to own. A background check will also show relatives and business associates who might have information about whether the subject is being straight. Unfortunately, background checks still don’t show employment, but there are ways to find that out, too.
To Be Free – I’ve heard from many people who were widowed who, when vulnerable, were targeted by a sociopath. I have also heard from the adult children of men and women who were widowed, and see their parents being targeted by a sociopath, and want to know how to help them.
When people are widowed, you are vulnerable. I think you are even more vulnerable when your marriage was good, because you imagine that your next relationship will also be good. You can’t imagine that someone will have deceitful or exploitative intentions.
That’s why a story like Lisa Sorrentino’s is so important – these predators are out here. I’ve even heard of some who hang around grief support groups, looking for targets.
People need to be aware.
You are absolutely right – Donna.
I didn’t even know what a sociopath was.
I knew something wasn’t right or didn’t add up. And also I discounted all the red-flags. Then someone told me they thought I was dealing with someone who had a personality disorder…and so the research began…. and I found myself on Lovefraud!!
I poured my heart out here!! And thankfully people posted such encouragement. I didn’t know if I would come to the day I’m in now because of all the pain my heart was going through. But….thank God, I have come through it!!
I have such peace verse all the anxiety I was living in. Money can’t buy you that!
Just the $78,000? Is that all? That sounds as if poor Lisa Sorrentino won’t be getting ANYTHING back that Aronson stole from HER personally…?
As far as I can see, Aronson perpetrated his swindle in five different ways:
1. He skimmed cash from Lisa’s business that he was supposed to be banking for her. She’s out $4,000 in that respect alone.
2. He didn’t pay Lisa’s property taxes, cable TV and electricity bills as he agreed to, so Lisa is probably out another $8,000 or so on that account. The sad thing is, you know what they say: “An oral agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” So I wouldn’t be surprised if Lisa has no legal way of forcing Aronson to cough up what he promised when he moved in with her.
3. He most likely stole Lisa’s tennis bracelets as well. That’s probably the saddest of all, because apart from their intrinsic worth (which could be substantial), I’ll bet they were a gift from her late husband Joe, and have great sentimental value besides. Yet if Lisa can’t prove he stole them, that may be another loss she’ll never recover.
4. He ran up debts of $78,000 on the credit card accounts he fraudulently opened in Lisa’s name.
4. Finally, he also pocketed the cash Lisa gave him for groceries. But he did buy the groceries as arranged, charging them instead to the credit card accounts he fraudulently opened in Lisa’s name. So while this was an additional method of stealing, it shouldn’t represent additional funds stolen, since the cost came out of the $78,000 in item (4) above. So I hope this theft of cash would not represent an additional loss to Lisa herself, only to the credit card companies who issued these bogus cards.
However, if Aronson only has to pay $78,000 in restitution, although it’s a large sum, it still only represents the money he swindled out of the credit card companies in item (4). I would HOPE there’s no way Lisa could ever be made responsible for those debts, since she herself never had anything to do with any of those accounts; it was all Gary Aronson’s doing. (If she could somehow be left on the hook for any of it, that would be downright frightening!)
But this does seem to mean that only the credit card companies stand to collect, while poor Lisa doesn’t get one penny back out of Aronson. All she’s got to show for it is a David Yurman ring from Nieman Marcus. I can only hope it was an expensive one!
Redwald – that is exactly right. Lisa got nothing.