This is the latest in a series of high profile criminal cases being brought against “psychics” for fraud. A con woman from Manhattan has been sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison, which was actually longer than the prosecutors had requested.
Sylvia Mitchell, the Manhattan fortuneteller whose ornate Greenwich Village parlor and air of uptown sophistication attracted well-to-do, distraught clients who preferred the finer things in life, was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison on Thursday, a month after a jury convicted her of grand larceny.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Gregory Carro of State Supreme Court in Manhattan acknowledged that the penalty was harsher than that requested by prosecutors at Thursday’s hearing. The Manhattan district attorney’s office had requested a sentence of three to nine years in prison.
“You had a perfect setup,” Justice Carro said. “We have lots of con artists here in New York City,” he said, citing three-card monte dealers and those who pretend their glasses were just broken by a stranger who bumped into them on the street.
But Ms. Mitchell lured “someone who is having some dramatic stress in their life, some great problems they were going through, looking for some kind of help,” the judge said.
Insert the obligatory “I bet she didn’t see that coming” joke here. But what exactly is the difference between what this woman did and what faith healers and TV evangelists do every day? The only difference is that Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson rake in more money than this woman could ever dream of.