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Gary J. Aronson treats widow like gold — with money acquired by stealing her identity

Con artist Gary Aronson

Con artist Gary Aronson swindled more than $78,000 from a widow he dated.

By Donna Andersen

Lisa and Joe Sorrentino were happily married for 25 years. They worked together every day in Joe’s hair salon in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They enjoyed their family.  But life changed in October 2008, when Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Lisa Sorrentino had been working part time in the business, but as Joe weakened, she put in more hours and covered more of his clients.

Joe died in October 2009, and Sorrentino was heartbroken to lose her husband and best friend. But she didn’t have time to slow down and grieve, because now the salon was hers, and she was working 65 hours a week.

One of her clients was Gary Aronson. Her husband had been cutting his hair since Gary was 18 years old — almost 20 years. About six months after Joe’s death, Sorrentino and Aronson started dating.

Aronson seemed caring and easygoing, Sorrentino said. He didn’t put any pressure on her.

“I was honest,” Sorrentino said. “I never wanted to get married again. I wanted a companion. I didn’t need a man to take care of me. I can take care of myself and my daughter.

Aronson had previously been married. He told Sorrentino that he was in the mortgage business, licensed in Michigan and Florida. This was true — one of Sorrentino’s other customers checked him out. So when Sorrentino refinanced her house to lower her payments, Aronson helped with the paperwork.

Offering support

In January 2012, after they had been dating for a year and a half, Sorrentino moved into a new home, and soon Aronson moved in with her. He offered not only companionship, but support. Since he was working from home as a mortgage broker, he was able to look after Sorrentino’s mother, who suffered from dementia, while Sorrentino was at the salon.

Sorrentino had legal papers drawn up to protect her assets. “If we broke up, what was his, was his, and what was mine, was mine,” she said. They agreed that Aronson would pay the property taxes and the cable bill.

Aronson also helped Sorrentino with day-to-day errands. She gave him cash and he went to the grocery store. Sometimes he ran to the bank for her, depositing the checks and cash she received at the salon. Sorrentino appreciated his help.

And Aronson was there for her when tragedy struck.

On July 21, 2012, Sorrentino’s stepson suffered bleeding in his brain. He had a stroke, he was paralyzed on his right side, and eventually it was discovered that he had a brain tumor.

Aronson came to the rescue. He helped Sorrentino’s daughter-in-law and grandson. He took Sorrentino’s stepson to radiation and chemotherapy. But the young man couldn’t handle his illness, and on January 31, 2013, Sorrentino’s stepson committed suicide.

Gary Aronson did everything he could to support Sorrentino and her family through the terrible ordeal.

Amex calls

A few months after her stepson’s death, on April 23, 2013, Sorrentino was at work when she received a call from a collection agency. They wanted to know when she was going to pay her American Express card — the outstanding balance totaled $13,852.

Sorrentino told the man that she didn’t have an American Express card.

Sorrentino immediately called her attorney. She also called Aronson, who speculated that someone might have gotten into his computer and found her social security number.

“Why do you have my social security number on your computer?” Sorrentino asked.

By Friday morning, Sorrentino’s lawyer called her — payments had been made on the American Express card. “Who did you tell about this?” he asked.

Sorrentino had told no one except her daughter — and Gary Aronson.

Starting to feel sick to her stomach, Sorrentino called the collection agency back. That’s when she found out that six more credit cards had been taken out in her name, and the total balance on them was nearly $78,000.

He answers the phone

Sorrentino and her employee, Lisa DelGiorno, started calling all the cards and shutting them down. They discovered that many of the cards were associated with a particular address and phone number that they didn’t recognize.

Sorrentino called the number — and Gary Aronson answered the phone.

“I went home and all hell broke loose,” Sorrentino said. “We fought until 2 a.m. I was going to get him to tell me what happened.”

Aronson kept denying that he had anything to do with her stolen identity.

Sorrentino tried to go to sleep, but her brain was still churning. Then it came to her — one of the charges on the American Express account was from Nieman Marcus. Aronson had given her a David Yurman ring from Nieman Marcus for Christmas.

“I jumped out of bed and yelled, ‘You did it,'” Sorrentino said. Yet Aronson continued to deny any wrongdoing, saying he bought the ring online.

Sorrentino had to be at work at 6:30 a.m. “I told him that I wanted to hear it come out of his mouth. I asked if he had a gambling problem. He kept denying and had an answer for everything.”

Sorrentino called Aronson again from work. “That’s when he finally admitted it to me. He said he had lost all his money in stocks and bad investments. He was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Technically he had no money. He was using my name. That’s how he was paying for everything.”

Sorrentino threw Aronson out of her house.

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7 Comments on "Gary J. Aronson treats widow like gold — with money acquired by stealing her identity"

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  1. To Be Free says:

    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!!



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  2. russconte says:

    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 –

    http://www.lovefraud.com/resources-guide/lovefraud-professional-resources-guid/13023/brad-robinson-senior-partner-the-millennium-group/

    The other resource in the LoveFraud resources guide is here:

    http://www.lovefraud.com/resources-guide/lovefraud-professional-resources-guid/11906/elaine-walker-certified-fraud-examiner-gray-owl-investigations/



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    • Sagebrush says:

      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.



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  3. 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.



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  4. To Be Free says:

    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!



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  5. Redwald says:

    Quote: “…Aronson got five years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution for the $78,000 in fraudulent charges.”

    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!



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