Man Accused of Posing as Rabbi to Scam Churchgoers

Victim says man claimed to be raising money to bring Jewish families from Russia to Israel

A Grand Prairie woman says a man who claimed to be a rabbi bilked her and other members of her church out of money.

Cynthia Silva brought Luis Lujan into her home and game him hundreds of dollars for what she thought was a good cause.

"He's taking advantage of Hispanics, Christian people and people with good hearts," Silva said.

Lujan told her his name was Gabriel Rosenburg, claiming he was a rabbi who was trying to bring Jewish families from Russia to Jerusalem.

Silva said she didn't hesitate to offer help.

"Me and my family want to bring a family from Russia back to Israel. And so I said, 'I really feel like I need to do this,'" she said.

She and her family gave Lujan $650.

Silva even took him to her father's church in South Texas so he could solicit more donations. He left with about $3,000, she said.

Lujan told her he would be preaching at another church -- but she got a different story from the church.

"They said, 'We don't know who this Gabriel Rosenburg is. We don't know anything about him; he has nothing to do with us,'" Silva said.

Now suspicious about the man who called himself a rabbi, Silva checked out his license plate. She learned that the man she knew as Gabriel Rosenburg was really Luis Lujan.

"It's always a good idea to contact the police department, because when people are out taking money from people like that… that same person might also be involved in other criminal activities," said Sgt. Randy Isbell, of the Grand Prairie police department.

Police say if you give money to someone without expecting a service or product in return, it could be considered a civil matter. But if it has happened to several other people, it could be a criminal case.

Several members of the South Texas church Lujan visited filed police reports there.

Contact Us