When Arya received an unexpected knock on her door one night in January of 2020, it would not only unravel her seemingly ideal relationship, but also expose a con man’s carefully crafted lies and the shocking depths he was willing to go to manipulate unsuspecting women in his life.
The elaborate deceptions are explored in the new UCPAudio podcast “Do You Know Mordechai?,” which traces Arya’s quest to find love again after a painful divorce and unexpectedly leads her to a sisterhood of women who have all been betrayed by the same man.
To Arya, the man she knew as Mordechai Horowitz was a wealthy single dad who owned a ranch in Shadow Hills, California and split his time between the ranch and Canada, where he was working as an instructor and resident artist for a Toronto art school. He claimed his parents were wealthy Holocaust survivors who lived in New York City and that his wife had died years earlier, leaving just him and his college-age son behind.
But what Arya would discover is that there were many details of Horowitz’s life—even including his own name—that were nothing more than elaborate fabrications designed to endear him to women he met on digital dating sites like Bumble, Hinge and OkCupid.
He presented himself to other women as a writer, special ops agent, rancher, or New York City screenwriter.
“My friend Arya wasn’t the only one that Mordechai lied to,” podcast host Kathleen Goldhar noted.
As a close friend of Arya’s, Goldhar—who previously served as the producer of the podcast “Escaping NXIVM”—decided to delve into Horowitz’s past after Arya learned of his deception from another woman who arrived on her doorstop one Sunday night.
“When I first heard about Mordechai, it was just a story. A story that hit close to home. One of my good friends had been lied to, but, it turned into an investigation with at least a dozen women spanning many years and more than one country,” Goldhar said. “It’s about a man who seems incapable of telling the truth and leaves behind a trail of pain and confusion.”
The woman at Arya’s door that night had also been dating Horowitz. She told Arya that he'd been living with her in her one-bedroom condo and claimed to be going out at night to meet up with a guy he was writing a screenplay with, using her Uber account to travel to the meetings.
When the woman, referred to by the alias “Patty,” looked in her Uber account history and tracked him to the location, she saw "Mordechai" strolling hand in hand down the street with Arya.
Patty kicked him out that same night and returned to Arya’s later to warn her about him.
Goldhar and Arya began to look into his past and found others.
“Carolyn” recalled meeting “Mordechai” through Hinge after going through a divorce. She was drawn to his “goofy” nature and funny side and found it easy to talk to the man who told her he’d grown up on a commune in Los Angeles.
As the relationship progressed, he began staying at her place more and more often—essentially living there—until he inexplicably disappeared one weekend after telling her that he was on the way back to her place.
“That was the last I heard from him for the better part of a month,” she said.
Carolyn called all the local hospitals and repeatedly called and texted “Mordechai” but she received no reply. He reached out to her weeks later to claim that he had been “pretty sick” and was diagnosed with the blood cell cancer chronic myeloid leukemia, according to the podcast.
“I knew something wasn’t right,” he told her in a text. “Two weeks ago, or maybe three I had a flu that I thought would end me. I was in the hospital for days, almost in a coma.”
The good news was that the cancer was treatable and he was in Los Angeles to get treatment. She decided to “forgive him for what had happened and decide on where to take it from there.”
But their relationship would end a short time later after he promised to buy her a ticket to visit him in California and then never followed through, leaving her waiting at the Toronto airport with no ticket in hand.
Carolyn ended the relationship, but she began her own investigation into the claims he'd made during their romance, and ultimately uncovered a whole new set of lies.
To learn about about the story, tune in to “Do You Know Mordechai” on UCPAudio.com or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
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