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How One Group Of Women Set Out To Stop A Man Who Manipulated Them With Fake Names And False Promises
The women — who all fell victim to the same man's lies — called themselves the "yurt sisters" and set out to warn others and helping each other heal.
He held their most intimate confidences, professed feelings of love and made the women he dated feel secure and understood—but Mordechai Horowitz was never the man he claimed to be.
Even his name had been a lie and although his carefully crafted deceptions had given him a way to find sympathy, housing, money and food from the multiple women he met on online dating sites, they had little legal recourse because they had been willing participants in the romance, according to the new UCP Audio podcast “Do You Know Mordechai?”
It wasn’t until a string of his alleged victims found each other, that the women were able to join forces in a quest to warn other women about the man — identified on the podcast as Marc Ramsden — who had broken their hearts and lied his way into their homes.
“As many of five of them had gone to police to file reports and everyone got the same answer, ‘This is not a crime,’” podcast host Kathleen Goldhar explained in the podcast. “The police wouldn’t be able to do anything to stop Marc, so the women decided if the law can’t help, they’re going to try to stop Marc on their own.”
The women called themselves “the yurt sisters” in reference to Ramsden’s claims to many of the women during their courtship that he would build each a yurt on his ranch in California.
Ramsden's lies about who he was often varied depending on the woman—sometimes claiming to be a spy, cancer patient or Army veteran—but there were also common threads among many of his cover stories. He often told the women he met online that he was a multi-millionaire who owned a ranch in California. He described himself to many of the women as some type of artist, whether it was a painter or screenwriter, and often claimed to have suffered some type of health crisis during their relationship.
But the podcast investigation would uncover that Ramsden didn’t own any real estate in California. In some of his lies, he claimed to have created artwork that had actually been painted by a woman he once dated, referred to in the podcast as “Justine”—even going one step further in some instances to use an image of Justine and her son to tell women it was a picture of his dead wife (although they had never been married and she was very much alive).
“I mean it’s all horrible you know because what he does is he uses my child to deceive these women,” Justine said in the podcast. “In some ways, you know, I feel like I am a part of this, because I feel like by using my story and using me, that’s how he ropes them in, and it’s horrible.”
Ramsden often moved quickly in the relationships, essentially living at the homes of some of those he dated or using their Uber accounts, as he tried to portray himself as a perfect, sensitive partner.
As each woman began to discover his lies, they often reached out to Justine, who would share what she knew about Ramsden and her own story of being deceived.
“It’s a strange, seizing feeling and I always know I am going to be kind of emotionally uneven and not sleep well for a few days and I also go through it with them,” she said of being contacted by victim of the ruse. “I am not going to leave them to process this on their own.”
As more and more of his alleged victims found one another, they started meeting regularly to share stories and find ways that they could help others who crossed his path.
“The yurt sisters began by monitoring as many dating apps as they could and when they found Marc on one, they alerted the company, often getting his profile pulled,” Goldhar said.
The women also created a website, posting pictures and using all of Ramsden’s known aliases and cover stories, in an attempt to warn anyone who may have searched his name.
The yurt sisters have been empowered by their own efforts to limit his ability to target others.
“They have developed a real friendship and a real sense of togetherness and a real support system from the yurt sisters,” Goldhar, who also serves as a producer of the podcast, told Oxygen.com.
It’s also helped many find a way to heal from the deception, particularly as many are left questioning whether they should have seen the signs earlier or asked different questions.
“Of course, all of the women Marc twisted around all felt that way, but when you meet all these other women who all had the same response, I think it really does go a long way to let you know that it actually is just about his capacity to manipulate. It’s not about your capacity to be dubbed,” Goldhar said.
To learn more about Ramsden and the alleged lies he’s told, tune into “Do You Know Mordechai” on UCP Audio or wherever you usually listen to podcasts.