Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update On The Identity Theft Case Associated With James Randi

Here's an update on a story I posted about last month. It looks like James Randi was aware of the identity theft of his companion before he was arrested:

Jailed mystery artist Jose Alvarez and his longtime companion, magician and professional skeptic James "The Amazing" Randi, revealed Alvarez's true identity to a federal judge Friday so the artist could be released on a million-dollar bond after six weeks of incarceration.

For 24 years, Deyvi Pena used the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a New York man to travel the world on a United States passport first issued to him in 1987. During that time as Alvarez, he became a celebrated artist whose works have hung in exhibitions in New York, Miami and San Francisco....

Pena, 49, and Randi, 83, have remained high-profile figures in the world of skepticism for decades, and Randi is famous around the world for debunking people who profess to have paranormal powers. He runs the James Randi Educational Foundation dedicated to skepticism....

The judge was satisfied only after hearing Pena and Randi testify under oath. Randi told the judge he had seen Pena's Venezuelan passport years ago. Pena said he used the fraudulent U.S. passport to travel Europe....

Even with the disclosure of Pena's identity, another mystery persists. Neither he nor Randi disclosed why Pena had stolen someone else's identity.

"The government and the public will know how all this happened and snowballed," Dmitrovsky said after the hearing. "That's all going to be revealed. It's a very compelling story."

And here's a post by Greg Taylor that discusses more of the background to this story.


  1. Looks like Randi had to spend that million dollar challenge money on bail. Oh well.

  2. Randi, upset at the judge for the demands of bail, was quoted as saying "I just can't understand why the judge demanded so much proof and testimony just to get David released."

    It was at this moment that irony died a slow and painful death.