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James Randi's Boyfriend Busted In Fl, Jose Alvarez, Deyvi Pena, James Randi

DoYouEverWonder
post Oct 24 2011, 08:58 AM
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Jailed Plantation mystery artist reveals true identity in federal court

October 21, 2011
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 was arrested Sept. 8 at Randi's Plantation home under the name "John Doe" and charged with passport fraud and identity theft. A Sun Sentinel investigation revealed Pena's true identity earlier this week. The newspaper obtained the immigration visa he used in March 1984 to come to the United States from his native Venezuela to attend the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

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 deal to get Pena whose full name is Deyvi Orangel Pena Arteaga out on bond was worked out at the last minute Thursday night by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha Mitrani and Pena's defense attorney, Susan Dmitrovsky.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Seltzer asked the attorneys if there was any paperwork a passport or travel visas to show Pena was who he said he was.

"Do we have anything to confirm this his true identity?" the judge asked. "I can't release a defendant unless I have some idea who he is."

Mitrani said she and the federal agents working on the case had not had time to check for immigration records, but that she was comfortable Pena was his actual identity and that he would not try to flee the country if released on bond.

"We are going to verify and vet the information he gave us," Mitrani told the judge.

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.

Seltzer set two bonds for Pena: One is a $1 million personal surety bond guaranteed by him and Randi, and the other is a cash bond of $50,000. Pena was released a few hours after the hearing, still wearing tan jail scrubs. He will wear an electronic monitor and be under house arrest.

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."

Sun Sentinel
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onesliceshort
post Oct 24 2011, 10:04 AM
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