- Eric Abramovitz's then-girlfriend used their shared laptop to send fake emails rejecting scholarships Abramovitz received from prestigious music programs
- His girlfriend, Jennifer Lee, allegedly sent fake rejection emails to Abramovitz because she didn't want him to move away to study elsewhere
- Abramovitz missed an opportunity to study under world-renown clarinetists because of his girlfriend's interference
- Abramovitz didn't discover what Lee had done until years later, long after they broke up
- He sued for $300,000 and won
In a turn of events that will scare you out of ever sharing a single password with anyone ever again, a former music student at McGill University in Canada was awarded $350,000—over P18,000,000—by a judge in Ontario after his girlfriend irrevocably stalled his career. What started as one hopelessly romantic woman's quest to keep her boyfriend at her side ended in a six-figure lawsuit and a lot of heartache.
The whole saga begins with Eric Abramovitz starting a relationship with a fellow McGill music student named Jennifer Lee in September 2013. As reported by the Montreal Gazette, Abramovitz and Lee had a classic college romance—they fell hard and fast, and within a month of dating, Abramovitz was essentially living in Lee's apartment. They often shared a laptop and knew each other's go-to passwords.
Just a few months into their relationship, Abramovitz—who's a talented and promising clarinetist, one of the top performers in Canada—applied for a two-year scholarship to finish his bachelor's degree at a more prestigious program in Los Angeles. At the Colburn Conservatory in LA, a renowned music institution, Abramovitz would study under Yehuda Gilad, considered to be one of the best clarinetists "on the planet." As the Montreal Gazette reports, stuyding under Gilad at the Conservatory is "virtually a guarantee of a high-paying symphony career directly out of college."
The only hitch is the Conservatory's tuition and associated LA living expenses are steep, but every study who is accepted receives a full scholarship worth about $50,000 a year. Abramovitz applied for the scholarship, and after an "exhaustive pre-screening process," flew to LA in February 2014 with his parents to do a live audition in front of Gilad and other faculty members.
As the Montreal Gazette reports, the Colburn Conservatory sent Abramovitz an email a month after his trip to LA, letting him know he'd gotten in and would be awarded the full-ride scholarship to study under Gilad. Only Abramovitz never saw the email, because Lee saw and deleted it first, ostensibly during one of the regular occasions on which she used their shared laptop.
Then Lee took things a step further.
Pretending to be Abramovitz, she replied to the Colburn Conservatory and rejected the offer. And then she created a fake email account for Gilad, and send a fraudulent email to her boyfriend, posing as the planet's greatest clarinetist. The email told Abramovitz that he unfortunately wasn't accepted for the Colbun scholarship, but that he could study at the University of Southern California with a $5,000 a year scholarship. Lee knew that USC's tuition of $51,000 a year would be unaffordable to Abramovitz with only a $5,000 scholarship.
Abramovitz was understandably crushed. He believed the fake email Lee had written, posing as Gilad, and decided to just finish his degree at McGill and did a two-year program at USC, not on scholarship. While there, he studied part-time under Gilad, who he thought rejected him years before.
During an audition with Gilad, Abramovitz asked him why he hadn't been accepted to the Colburn Conservatory years ago. Gilad was extremely confused, and wanted to know why Abramovitz rejected him. The two left the meeting confused, according to the Montreal Gazette. Abramovitz eventually forwarded Gilad the fake email sent him, and Gilad said he'd never seen it before.
Abramovtiz was suspicious.
"That's when I knew something underhanded was afoot," he said in an interview with the Montreal Gazette. In 2015, he and a friend decided to try logging into the fake email address for Gilad. Remember, he and Lee used to share a laptop and all their passwords. He used a password he knew Lee liked to use and successfully logged into the fake email account that rejected him in 2014. Once logged in, he saw that Lee's email and phone number were listed as the recovery accounts. Abramovitz suddenly realized the rejection he'd taken so hard the year before was fake, and knew exactly who was behind it.
And what's more, he learned that Lee had done something similar involving fake emails from the Julliard School in New York, which Abramovitz was accepted to and never knew.
Unsurprisingly, Lee and Abramovitz's relationship wasn't long for this world. The two broke up about a year after their relationship started, in September 2014. After Abramovitz learned that Lee had effectively ruined several years of his life, and irrevocably stalled his career, he sued for $300,000 in general damages for loss of reputation, loss of education opportunity, and loss of two years of income potential, reports the Montreal Gazette.
Earlier this week, a judge in Ontario ruled in Abramovitz's favor.
"I accept and find that Mr. Abramovitz lost a unique and prestigious educational opportunity, one that would have advanced his career as a professional clarinetist," the judge said. "I cannot speculate as to how high and how quickly Mr. Abramovitz’s career might have soared, but for the interference by Ms. Lee. But the law does recognize that the loss of a chance is a very real and compensable loss."
Though Lee never filed a notice of intent to defend herself, she allegedly went through the trouble of all these life-ruining shenanigans because she didn't want Abramovitz to move away from McGill and potentially end their relationship. Is there anything as simultaneously pure and deeply unhealthy as young love?
Let this be a lesson to everyone, everywhere: No matter how much you love your partner, keep your passwords close to the vest. Relationships come and go, but a reputation as a world class clarinetist is forever.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.