By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
In late 2010, after Priti Mahalanobis confessed to spending $130,000 on a woman who duped her with a grapefruit, she cut off all contact with the psychic. When she tried filing a police report in early 2011, she was told the con didn't constitute a crime. "I was shocked and angry," she remembers. "What the hell? How could someone so openly do this?"
She found Nygaard online and hired him. He collected information and sent it to the Orange County State Attorney's Office that March. Mahalanobis waited. By late summer, anxious for her case to move forward, she went on Anderson Cooper's daytime show. Before the daytime viewing audience, she opened up. Her episode aired in October, and in November, Peaches Stevens was arrested in Orlando and charged with fraud, but charges were dropped in September 2012 when Stevens agreed to repay Mahalanobis in full.
This January, Stevens and her aunt, Sharon Stevens of Hallandale, were charged with squeezing $50,000 out of another Orlando woman. Charges were dropped in March, when the pair agreed to pay restitution. Attempts to contact both were unsuccessful, and multiple calls to their attorney were not returned.
Susan Williams realized she'd been conned by "Trinity" and in December 2012 filed a report with the Boca Raton Police Department. Police attempted to contact the psychic — real name: David Miller Uwich — for three months. They checked pawn shops and found that Uwich had sold the gold Rolex watch — not smashed it to rescue Williams' father from purgatory.
When investigators interviewed Uwich last March, he claimed his relationship with Williams had begun as business but developed into romance (although he told police "no actual sex occurred"). He denied accepting money but said the older woman had given him gift cards as presents. Uwich also claimed Williams had possession of the Rolex.
"She came into my office, she fell in love with me, we started dating," Uwich told New Times when contacted briefly by phone. "One thing led to another. Then I let her go, and she came up with this elaborate story. I never did spiritual work for her. We started dating. I bought her stuff; she bought me stuff. I'm 40; she's like 68 years old."
Williams admitted she never expected the money or the watch to be returned — they were supposed to be used for rituals. "[I]t is impossible to show intent," the case report concludes, because Williams "knew that everything she was giving to Uwich was never going to be returned to her." No charges were filed.
By September 2009, the bills filling up her mailbox broke the spell Tamara Wilson had fallen under. She demanded that Hillarie and Nadine return her money. The more she pressed, the more the two pulled away. Finally they stopped taking her calls altogether. Wilson tried to hide her deteriorating financial situation, but sensing something was wrong, her mother searched her room, finding the paper trail of bills.
With Nygaard's help, Wilson went to the Broward Sheriff's Office in 2010. The investigation identified the teenaged counterpart in the case as Hillarie Miller, then a juvenile. The name was significant — her mother is Gina Marie Marks, a Broward-based psychic who's been repeatedly charged with scamming clients since 2007. (No relation to Rose Marks; Marks is a common Roma surname.) In 2010, Marks served nine months of an 18-month sentence. She's currently on probation.
Attorneys for Miller offered Wilson restitution for the full $29,507, and both prosecutors and police pressed the victim to settle, but despite her bleeding debt, Wilson rejected the payout. She wanted a prosecution.
In June 2012, the state attorney issued a warrant on Hillarie Miller for organized scheme to defraud and grand theft. She's still at large. Investigators have not identified the psychic who called herself Nadine.
Asked if Gina Marie Marks had acted as the older psychic in her daughter's alleged crime, Miller's attorney, Michael Orenstein, says, "She had nothing to do with it; she's on probation."
Wilson's phone still rings regularly with creditors. Interest is piling up. She can't go back to school because she can't afford tuition. Looking back on who she was in 2009, she reflects, "I didn't have problems. I thought I had problems. Now I have problems."
What these fortune tellers A.K.A scammers do is despicable and disgusting, but some people need to grow up. Anyone who spends more than 50 cents on "psychic services" is just proving to be a gullible sucker. Gullible suckers usually end up being ripped off. It's in their nature.
as for the BSO being any assistance in prosecuting frauds, let me remind you that BSO was bought by SCOTT ROTHSTEIN, so because BSO is "for sale" and the biggest scammer used the ft lauderdale based LEOs to "serve and protect" HIM ....................... what do you expect of the BSO ?
its' the FOX gaurding the HEN house here in broward county
i guess BERNIE MADOFF is the KING of all GYPSIES
...........a fool and his money is soon parted
whether its GAMBLING or SHOPPING or HOBBIES or RELIGION the money lost/spent/donated is typically IN EXCHANGE FOR something....and that something can simply be puffery
MADISON AVENUE ADVERTISING depends on puffery as do gypsies
desperate people will do desperate things and pissing MONEY away is the least of it, some commit suicide or do drugs or fall into the bottle or pursue other dangerous outlets, so going broke it low on the list HOWEVER despicable it is morally and ethically to dupe vulnerable people
No offense, but I happen to know Gypsies and not all are mystics, most in fact assimilate to whatever culture they're in and become a part of the most popular religion
And the Gypsies that use magic charge only $10 a reading. I know, I study with some of them.
I want to congratulate you on a very fascinating article. It's hard to believe that fortune tellers can make so much money. On The Twilight Zone many years ago, there was an episode about a couple who were in a diner, and at their table was a "fortune telling machine." After depositing a quarter, the machine would predict the future.. At first, the couple thought this was fun, but as they kept depositing money, the machine told them very accurate things about their lives. In the end, the couple could not leave the table. The machine told them that if they did, they would die. I saw that as a child, and it still haunts me. Who knows, maybe the couple is still in the diner.
AWWWW -BARRY TOLD YA ABOUT LEAKING ALL HIS SECRETS ON THE INTERNET, NOW YA KNOW WHERE HIS INNER STAFF GOES FOR PROPRIETARY ADVISEMENT AND COUNSELING'---AND WHY IT ENDS UP A CACOPHONY OF FUBAR'D MAYHEM IN PRACTICING APPLICATION!!!
For the deep background on this story, read Jan Yoors' famous sociological study of the Rom called "The Gypsies." It's kind of old (1960s) but totally valid.
Please explain to me how the Gypsies are different than the Catholic church? I don't see a bit of difference between the two other than Gypsies don't molest little boys.
being a GYPSIE designates an unwelcome and uninvited OUTSIDER and any inclusion signifies an illegitimate purpose - to EXCLUDE gypsies is cleansing
being a CATHOLIC means you have to be at the table in any major discussion for that purpose to be legitimate - to EXCLUDE catholics is typically illegal and socially questionable and not PC
mystical faith-based organizations are the SAME in that they value continued survival including financial support from congregants and believers
the GYPSIEs take advantage of desperate people in a surreptitious way and makes people PAY to obtain their salvation
the CATHOLIC CHURCH uses the interpretations of text as a basis for its faith and salvation is earned by following a certain path and requests donations to continue funding the resources required to maintain the organization infastructure (until MARTIN LUTHER the CHURCH and GYPSIEs were similar in demanding MONEY to effect change (indulgences))
the GYPSIEs get people to FALL PREY while the CHURCH requires members to BE FAITHFUL
@Rabbi_Pedro_Goldstein Truth be told, all religions are nothing but superstition, designed to psychologically control the masses, and enrich those in charge