Eric Abramovitz is a gifted musician, who can currently be found fulfilling the role of associate principal/E flat clarinetist at the Toronto Symphony: a position that thousands of musicians around the world would kill for. Back in 2014, he applied for another position that these same musicians would think kill-worthy, too: a placement with the Colburn Conservatory as a student. The conservatory is insanely hard to get into – only two students are accepted a year. When Abramovitz received an email from the Conservatory that denied him a spot with them, along with the scholarship he had applied for, he was gutted like a fish: music was his life and being able to study under renowned clarinet instructor Yehuda Gilad was a dream that was so close to coming true. To have it snatched away? Ouch.
But here’s the thing: Abramovitz was accepted into the program, scholarship and all. His girlfriend at the time, fellow musician Jennifer Lee, didn’t want him to leave her to further his education. So, she did what any young sociopath in love would do: she accessed his email account and deleted the acceptance message from the Colburn Conservatory. Next, she opened up a fake Gmail account in Yehuda Gilad’s name and used it to write to Abramovitz, saying, more or less, "tough shit, keep playing music, but you won't being doing it at the Colburn School." Pretending to be Gilad, Lee offered her sweet baboo the chance to attend one of Gilead’s other classes at the University of Southern California, knowing full well that he would not be able to afford the tuition required to do so.
But that didn’t stop Abramovitz from studying under Yehuda Gilad.
A few months later, he auditioned for a program that would give him access to the teacher of his dreams. By that time, he’d broken up with Lee, and was ready to go where ever his career as a musician would take him. Abramovitz was accepted into the program. Upon finally meeting Gilad, he asked him why he had been rejected by the Colburn Conservatory.
From The National Post:
"It was at his second audition before Gilad, in which they had a brief and strange interaction, when Gilad said, 'Why did you reject me?'
"It was a fair question. As Abramovitz put it, 'You don't reject him.' But having done nothing of the sort, Abramovitz asked in return, 'Why did you reject me?'
"They could not sort it out then and there, but over time, the wonder lingered. Another student of Gilad's asked him about it. Eventually, Abramovitz forwarded the fake [rejection] email to Gilad, who replied: 'I've never seen that in my life.'
"'That's when I knew that something underhanded was afoot,' Abramovitz said. One day in 2015, he and a friend set about trying to gain access to the fake email account, and because Abramovitz and Lee once shared a computer, he knew one of her passwords, which he tried.
"'Miraculously, it logged right in,' he said. Her email was listed as the recovery email, her phone was the recovery phone. 'We felt like Sherlock Holmes.'"
So, flash forward to the present: Abramovitz sued his ex-girlfirend, who didn’t bother to turn up in court to defend herself (honestly though, would you?) over the loss of his scholarship and the emotional torment that she had put him through. The judge presiding over the case awarded Abramovitz $260,000 USD in damages, which translates into $350,000 Canadian.
A judge in Ontario concluded that he lost at least that much, between the scholarship money he missed out on and the delay to his musical career. The judge added an additional $25,000 Canadian as punishment for "morally reprehensible conduct" and another $25,000 in damages for "the incompensable personal loss suffered by Mr Abramovitz by having a closely held personal dream snatched from him by a person he trusted."
So yeah: change your email passwords frequently and be careful of who you provide access to your account.
Image via MaxPixel