A television actor has spoken about how a woman was duped and coerced into taking her own life using his name.
Lincoln Lewis, a former star of Home and Away, made the startling revelation in 2011 after getting a call from an unidentified woman who said they were dating.
Among other aliases, Lydia Abdelmalek, 32, had impersonated the celebrity in a brutal four-year catfish scam that claimed three victims.
Lewis claimed that the unknown person had gotten in touch with him and inquired, “Have you and I been dating for the previous few months?”
He admitted that it was the moment he realised he was being exploited in a catfish scheme that had taken him by surprise.
Then he told her that he had never met her before.
The actor said she sounded ‘rattled’ and ‘panicked’ as she confessed to sending intimate images and videos of herself to someone she mistook for him.
The woman thought they had been seeing each other for a few months.
Lewis reported that she said, “Linc, I don’t know who this is now.”
“Linc, someone has pictures and videos of me,” I believed we were dating. I mistook you for the requestor of these items. I mistakenly believed you were the recipient of everything I was sending.
She has been the target of Abdelmalek’s blackmail and harassment of her friends and relatives using those photographs.
In 2018, the woman later committed suicide.
With the Lewis persona, Abdelmalek had also conned two other people who had approached him twice.
Lewis was approached “several months later” by a second female victim who informed him that someone he didn’t know had created Facebook pages in his name, altered his existing social media accounts, and revealed his home location.
Additionally, a false licence including his name and image had been created.
In a statement to the police, he claimed, “(She) gave me a very similar tale about how someone I didn’t know was pretending to be me and was creating or had made online relationships with these girls.”
“(She) told me the person was making Facebook pages in my name, altering my current social media accounts, and disclosing my genuine home address.”
Mr. Lewis recalled telling the woman, who was “quite rattled,” that he hoped she was “OK.”
The third was a man who approached him in a sports bar in Bali and pretended that they were pals.
Lewis recalled, “I just looked at him and my friends were all just kind of standing confused, and he said, “Brother it’s me.”
Since I had never seen him before in my life, “I wasn’t sure what to do.”
Before getting very uncomfortable, apologising, and departing, the man needed to be pulled aside by the actor and informed that they were not friends.
“Mate, I apologise. I have no idea who you are. I’ve never met someone like you. I apologise, but this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever spoken to you,’ Mr. Lewis recalls adding.
Mr. Lewis described to the court some of the techniques Abdelmalek would have employed to deceive her victims into thinking she was the renowned actor, including mistakes with a fictitious driver’s licence from Queensland.
The information came to light after Abdelmalek’s plea for an early release from prison was denied.
Following a protracted appeal of her 2019 sentence, she made an appearance in Melbourne’s County Court on Tuesday, where she was re-sentenced to four years in prison.
She attempted to have her conviction for six counts of stalking earlier this year overturned, and she then sought to have her two years and eight months of imprisonment overturned.
Moments after Abdelmalek’s resentencing on Tuesday afternoon, Lewis posted on Twitter to express his happiness that the catfishing ordeal was ‘finally done.’
It’s difficult to put into words or express the sense of satisfaction that justice has finally been served as a result of the cruel and horrifying actions performed by this person beginning more than ten years ago, the author wrote.
“I hope the punishment helps bring some closure to the victims, their families, and others affected, so that everyone may now move on and recover.”
Finally, I hope that this starts a discussion on online safety among friends or between parents and their children. Social networking is fantastic, but you should constantly be aware of who you are speaking with and, more importantly, should always watch out for one another. Lots of love.
Abdelmalek’s minimum sentence has increased from one year and nine months to two years and eight months, after which she will be qualified for parole.
Judge Claire Quin presided over their requests for an extended term while Abdelmalek’s victims and their family arrived in court for the sentencing.
She said that she had ‘many times’ told Abdelmalek and her attorneys that if they pursued the appeal, she may impose a more severe jail sentence.
Judge Quin informed the court, “This issue proceeded in spite of an overwhelming prosecution case and full knowledge of the additional stress that flows to the victims as a result.”
She called Abdelmalek’s crimes “persistent and vicious” and claimed that she had spent countless hours secretly searching for her victims online.
Judge Quin stated, “The appellant built a web of fake names and personas.”
Despite the fact that some of the content resembled a soap opera, it was real and had an impact on actual individuals.
What may at first be humorous can suddenly turn serious and have a substantial impact on the psychological health of the people who are exposed to the risk.
Of her sentence, Abdelmalek has already completed more than four months of it.