Barry Paul Lebowitz, who posed as a wealthy businessman and then bilked his admirers out of more than $13,000, was sentenced in U.S. District Court yesterday to serve from three to nine years in jail.
Lebowitz, 43, who unveiled his own masquerade after one of his victims secretly tape-recorded a conversation in which he confessed that he was a "con man," was convicted by a jury last July of 11 fraud violations.
A former clothing salesman from Skokie, Ill., Lebowitz frequented luxury hotels, pretending to be an executive of the world's largest supplier of casino gambling equipment. He would then persuade women he met and their friends to give him money, primarily to invest in stock -- which he never did -- or simply as loans, which he never repaid.
Lebowitz, who has a prior criminal record of similar offenses, is "recidivism personified," Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Reardon III said in court yesterday.
"The time has come that there should be a bon voyage for this bon vivant," Reardon said, urging Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer to sentence Lebowitz to serve a jail term.
"I've done a lot of wrong," Lebowitz, his voice shaking, told Oberdorfer. "I would like to make an attempt at helping myself and would not like to feel that I'm a worthless human being."
Oberdorfer sentenced Lebowitz without commenting on the case and recommended that he be placed in a federal correctional institution where medical and psychiatric help would be available. Oberdorfer ordered that Lebowitz remain in jail, on a $25,000 bond, pending any appeal.