Canadian students Eric Abramovitz and Jennifer Lee had been in a relationship for about six months when she found an email on his computer that could have taken Abramovitz far away: An acceptance letter to the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles with a full scholarship.
Lee declined the offer without Abramovitz’s knowledge, deleted the email and crafted a deception designed to make him believe he had been rejected from his dream program, where he hoped to advance his career as a clarinetist.
That’s according to a Canadian court ruling released Wednesday. The ruling from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice says the actions she took amounted to “despicable conduct” and ordered Lee to pay more than $200,000, or more than 300,000 Canadian dollars, in damages.
The loss of a scholarship, additional educational costs, and lost income were all factors in the ruling’s total.
Lee was served with a “statement of claim” but did not defend herself, the ruling says.
The court’s judgment described the incident that occurred in March 2014 in this way:
During September 2013, Lee and Abramovitz began their relationship when they were both students at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal.
That winter Abramovitz visited Colburn in Los Angeles to audition for a selective program where he hoped to finish his bachelor’s degree. If accepted, he would be offered a scholarship that would cover tuition, room and board and a living stipend. It would also allow him to study clarinet under Yehuda Gilad — a world-famous teacher.
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On March 27, 2014, he was accepted and was notified in an email.
But before Abramovitz could read the email, Lee replied. Using his name, she declined the offer because Abramovitz would “be elsewhere.”
Then she deleted the acceptance letter.
She also created an email account to impersonate Gilad: email@example.com. She sent an email from that account to Abramovitz with a fictitious offer to study at another school with a much smaller scholarship — an offer she knew he would not be able to afford.
“She apparently did these things so that Mr Abramovitz would not leave Montreal, and instead would stay in Montreal and remain in his relationship with her,” the court’s ruling reads.
Abramovitz learned of the deception months later, when he was auditioning before Gilad in a different context, according to the National Post.
“Why did you reject me?” Gilad asked Abramovitz, according to the publication.
That question eventually led Abramovitz to discover the deception.
Abramovitz went on to attend a two-year graduate certificate program at the University of Southern California, where he had limited interactions with Gilad.
“I am very frustrated that a highly talented musician like Eric was the victim of such an unthinkable, immoral act that delayed his progress and advancement as an up-and-coming young musician and delayed his embarking on a most promising career,” Gilad wrote in a affidavit.
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