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Exposing an Imposter
Almost a year ago, in the Dec. 21, 2006 issue, the Jewish Exponent ran a profile of a local artist named Luc Sonnet, who had recently performed a digital-art exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there was a problem with that story: Though the art in question was real, the man's name was not. What's more, parts of the life story he relayed were also fabrications.
As it turns out, the man's real name is Richard Grossman, and far from spending all of his hours toiling away with images, he also served time in federal prison for fraud. Following his release, he crafted a false identity as an artist. He then scammed some local groups into providing him with a platform for his "art," and a number of newspapers, including the Exponent, into publicizing his newfound career.
While we became aware of doubts about the man after publishing the piece, we lacked the resources to uncover his nefarious past. Any doubts about the fact that we were indeed scammed were removed by a massive investigative piece published in The Philadelphia Inquirer this past Sunday, in which the full story about Grossman was uncovered. Our hats go off to the paper for its work in coming up with the truth about this bizarre grifter.
Like others, we were deceived by taking "Sonnet" at face value; as such, we need to apologize to our readers. While all journalists are sometimes at the mercy of their sources, the end result turned out to be an error on our part. And it's one that our staff will endeavor not to repeat.