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Jan 16 2014

Another Marks Family ‘Psychic” Goes to Prison

I’ve written before about Rose Marks, the “psychic” who was convicted of fraud but has not yet been sentenced. Now her “top lieutenant” — her daughter — has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay $2.2 million in restitution.

Her attorney tried to persuade U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra that 44-year-old Nancy Marks deserved leniency. As member of the Romany culture, where women have worked as psychics for centuries, she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong, said attorney Michael Gottlieb.

Federal prosecutors countered that Marks, like her mother-in-law, family matriarch Rose Marks, chose her victims carefully. They targeted those who had recently suffered devastating losses and milked them for hundreds of thousands of dollars, said prosecutor Roger Stefin.

Nancy Marks’ sentence signals that Rose Marks, 62, is likely to be sent to prison for a long time and ordered to pay a large amount in restitution — likely at least $17.8 million — when she is sentenced March 3, lawyers for both sides said. She has been in federal custody since she was convicted in September of 14 charges in connection with the operation that lured victims from storefronts in New York City and Fort Lauderdale.

“They would make people think they were helping them when they were going through these crises when all they were trying to do was extracting money from them regardless of their emotional or mental health,” he said.

Insert the obligatory “she should have seen this coming” joke here.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    “She should have…”

     

    Sorry am I being too literal?

  2. 2
    tubi

    Re #1

    I knew someone would do that.

  3. 3
    democommie

    I predict that the courts will find out that the total of the two judgments ($20M if they both go through) will be paid sometime after the Rapture.

  4. 4
    cuervocuero

    Don’t the mega preachers do the same thing described as the M.O. of these psychics? And they do the psychic shtick too. After all, they’re talking to Gawdd all the time and angels and hearing how people are being healed and how the world will be destroyed if people don’t give their money RIGHT NOW.

    Where’s the difference? Can these convictions be precedents for the overtly large sect religion grifters? I thought they skated on the fact that people ‘gave’ them money and they didn’t force them into it. Didn’t people freely ‘give’ money to these uhm…secular…not big enough religious sect…something psychics?

  5. 5
    cry4turtles

    What about that guy who used to talk to dead people on late-night TV (what was his name?). Has he been fined yet?

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Whenever I read the details on the charges against psychics who are arrested for ‘scams’ there’s almost always something concrete which can be pointed to and called. Usually it’s some version of ‘they said they would give money back … and then they didn’t.’ They aren’t clever enough — or their marks aren’t naive enough — to just do what the preachers do and promise returns which can’t possibly be checked on. God will bless you, the curse will lift, your chakras will be realigned. The glory of spiritual claims like these is that the outcome is vague and unmeasurable. You can’t call “scam” on a belief which overtly requires pure faith.

    Apparently the psychics weren’t keeping to spiritual claims. That cheers me a bit. People who expect to see a clear outcome and feel cheated when they don’t are actually less gullible on one level than those who are content to keep on applying faith no matter what happens. This suggests that the more gullible group — the people of a seemingly boundless willingness to believe — may be secretly shrewder than they seem. Because the money must not be as certain from this group — or you can bet the con artist psychics would be careful to make only supernatural promises.

    I don’t think you could file a lawsuit on a psychic who took $1000 to say a spell which would make your deceased father happy in heaven by claiming that the spell didn’t work and your dad’s ghost is still gloomy. Could you? The damage claim has to be more concrete.

  7. 7
    Trebuchet

    @3: I was going to say I’ve got the total amount they’ll actually pay back in my pockets at the moment, but I like yours better.

    @5: You’re probably thinking of John Edward. Like the late, unlamented Sylvia Browne, he works a different type of con. Instead of scamming huge sums from a small number of victims, he gets large numbers of marks (see what I did there) to give him relatively small amounts.

  8. 8
    Kamaka

    The “Hell for Eternity” 10% extortionists are just as criminal as these psychic fleecers, but they’re not the despised Gypsies, so they walk. Even when they rape kids. Which, as far as I know, is not a common Roma practice.

  9. 9
    sundoga

    Have to admit, I’m seeing more than a little “selective prosecution” here. And the fact that the people convicted are Roma makes me still more suspicious.

  10. 10
    democommie

    “Don’t the mega preachers do the same thing described as the M.O. of these psychics?”

    Kamaka beat me to it, but, pretty much what he said. THEY’RE not filthy gyppos and the Armanis that they’re wearing are knockoffs or they STOLE them instead of extorting the money from their marks and buying them like any DECENT christian would do.

  11. 11
    caseloweraz

    As member of the Romany culture, where women have worked as psychics for centuries, she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong, said attorney Michael Gottlieb.

    In other news, attorneys for Lukengu Wayne Gayce argued that, as a descendant of New Guinea cannibals, he didn’t know that eating the flesh of warriors you killed was wrong and he therefore should be acquitted.

  12. 12
    Reginald Selkirk

    Betty Vlado did see what was coming:
    Scamming psychic a no-show at sentencing

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