A family that ran a psychic scam has been indicted on multiple white collar crime charges. Nine members of the family were indicted on multiple charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. The family members who were apart of the scam convinced clients to hand over money and valuables by making false statements through psychic premonitions.
During their psychic scam, the defendants based in Florida made false statements to clients. Examples of the false statements were that the money and valuables of clients had to be cleansed of evil spirits. Convinced that their valuable goods or money were in need of a spirited cleaning, clients handed over their jewelry, gold coins and other valuable keepsakes. To trump up the consequences of not getting their valuables cleaned, the defendants informed their clients that they would suffer disease, financial hardship and hauntings.
Though the defendants promised to return the spiritually cleaned valuables, the defendants deposited their victims’ funds or valuables into bank accounts and used the money to pay for personal expenses. Over 20 years of running the psychic scam, the family allegedly grifted $40 million from patrons.
An example of one of the individual scams was a defendant convinced a client that the defendant had a “gift from God” and would be able to provide the client with divinely-inspired life advice. In order to gain the divinely-inspired advice, the client needed to provide an amount of money as a “sacrifice.” The defendant promised to pray over the money and return it, but the money was never returned.
Source: Forbes, “Psychic scam busted by Feds in Florida,” Walter Pavlo, Aug. 17, 2011