8 people have been charged in a fortune-telling con that allegedly extracted $40 million from its victims, including one very popular author.
Prosecutors say a family of gypsies amassed $40 million in a fortune-telling scam, warning victims that if they didn’t follow their advice, terrible things would happen to them or their loved ones.
Details spilled out in federal court Friday after eight people were arrested earlier this week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence Bardfeld said victims who were going through vulnerable phases forked over cash, gold coins and jewelry. The defendants promised victims they wouldn’t spend the money, but then refused to return it.
Dishonest con artists? What a shock.
The Sun Sentinel reported that one victim, a bestselling author, gave an estimated $20 million.
Citing “several sources,” the newspaper identified that victim as Jude Deveraux, author of dozens of New York Times bestsellers.
This is the same kind of psychological fraud perpetrated on followers by televangelists and faith healers. Never forget that irrationality has consequences.