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Jan 03 2013

Florida ‘Psychic’ Charged With $25 Million Fraud

It looks like Florida is cracking down on fake psychic con men (or women, in this case). Last year they sent a woman to prison for three years for bilking clients out of $1.6 million; now they’ve charged another “psychic” with defrauding people of $25 million.

It started with a simple psychic reading for a famous author, then spiraled into a $25 million fraud operated by a South Florida family of fortune tellers for more than 20 years, federal prosecutors say.

Rose Marks and eight members of her family are accused of preying on vulnerable and gullible clients who walked into their storefront psychic businesses in upmarket neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale and New York City.

In her first public comments about the federal charges, Marks, 61, told the Sun Sentinel she did nothing wrong.

“I’m innocent,” Marks said. “I gave my life to these people — we’re talking about clients of 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. We’re not talking about someone I just met and took all their money and ran off.”

Yeah, she kept defrauding them for decades so it totally doesn’t count!

In Marks’ family, the paranormal was the norm, she said. She insists she has psychic abilities — “a gift from God” inherited by the women of her family for hundreds of years.

Marks calls it intuition or insight and explains it as the power to use parts of the brain most people can’t reach. Her first psychic vision was at age 9, she said, when she accurately predicted her grandmother’s sudden death. “It was scary,” she said.

Great. So let’s test that. This is an entirely testable claim. I’m sure the James Randi Educational Foundation would be happy to set up a scientifically valid test with proper safeguards and if you prove that you have those psychic powers, not only can you use that in your defense, you’ll get a million dollars too. We’ll be waiting.

19 comments

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  1. 1
    fifthdentist

    I bet she never saw that coming.

  2. 2
    Thorne

    @ fifthdentist,

    I saw THAT coming! From me, if you hadn’t beat me to it!

  3. 3
    justsomeguy

    As stereotypical it is to make the “bet they never saw THAT coming” joke whenever something unfortunate happens to a self-proclaimed psychic, I will always giggle at it.

  4. 4
    shouldbeworking

    I bet. They couldn’t even predict all the jokes others are making at their expense (ego and legal).

  5. 5
    Moggie

    Comment #8 will be particularly funny.

  6. 6
    alanb

    I’ll leave this as my contribution: http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/psychic-fair-cancelled.jpg

  7. 7
    Kelly Green

    The thing is, if these people actually believe what they are selling — how is that fraud? It is no different than churches that have a tithing commitment, or synagogues that require you to pay for your pew.

  8. 8
    timpayne

    I guess these quacks are somehow different from clergy who convince their dupes to give to churches.

  9. 9
    NitricAcid

    If she’s bilking folks out of $25 million, why would she risk any of it going for Randi’s paltry $1 million?

  10. 10
    scienceavenger

    “fake psychic con men ” – as opposed to the real thing /snark

    One word psychics – Vegas. If you can really do what you say, you should be able to take the house down at any number of games, and with the most deserving of victims.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    parts of the brain most people can’t reach.

    That depends on what tools are available. You should be able to reach pretty much any part of a brain with a simple electric drill, for example.

  12. 12
    TGAP Dad

    …fake psychic con men…

    Are we being redundant here? Are there actually “psychics” who AREN’T fake, or con men (or women) for that matter?

  13. 13
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    TGAP Dad:
    I think there are psychics who genuinely believe, through one bias or another, that they have super powers. So I don’t know if they qualify as con people. Delusional certainly.

  14. 14
    Doug Little

    When someone brings up quantum mechanics in the wrong context just start reciting the Jabberwocky to them, works like a charm.

  15. 15
    John Hinkle

    The State should regulate the psychic business like any other, e.g., require training and licensing. In order to obtain a license, you must prove, scientifically – using real science mind you – that you can read minds, predict the future, talk to the dead, whatever your poison is.

    Using my psychic abilities right now, I predict no licenses would be granted.

    I will forthwith apply to my local government’s Department of Psychic Licensing. Hey, they’ll need someone with predictive abilities!

  16. 16
    freethinkercro

    I gave my life to these people — we’re talking about clients of 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. We’re not talking about someone I just met and took all their money and ran off.

    Why would she run off? Her clients continued to give her money for nothing for forty years.

  17. 17
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    The thing is, if these people actually believe what they are selling — how is that fraud?

    Because they had no REASONABLE belief in what they were selling?

    Actually, churches should maybe be prosecuted too.

  18. 18
    grumpyoldfart

    Florida ‘Psychic’ Charged With $25 Million Fraud

    we’re talking about clients of 20 years, 30 years, 40 years

    Holy cow. Your police are quick off the mark.

  19. 19
    jayarrrr

    She wouldn’t be in trouble if she claimed to be clergy and the money was “Love Gifts for the ministry”…

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