Rose Marks, Psychic Family Matriarch, Found Guilty on 14 Counts of Fraud

We wonder if she saw it coming. Rose Marks, a 62-year-old South Florida "psychic," was found guilty of 14 fraud counts yesterday. The gypsy matriarch swindled Ft. Lauderdale and New York residents out of nearly $25 million, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Marks had a brilliant idea: If you can convince troubled people that money is evil, they will let you hold their fortunes until everything cools out. The trick is that things won't ever actually get better for the troubled person, and you can just hold onto the cash.

See also: How Modern Fortunetellers Pull Off Their Scams

Among Marks' clients was Jude Deveraux, a prolific romance novelist who lives in Southwest Ranches. Over a 20-year period, the 66-year-old author of "Just Curious" and "Counterfeit Lady" forked over about $20 million to her psychic friend.

Marks, who walks with a cane, will be sentenced December 9. She faces up to 20 years in prison. Because the whole thing was a family affair, eight relatives have also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.

This is not the first government action against a South Florida-based psychic enterprise. Remember Miss Cleo? Her promoters, Access Resource Services, Inc, and Psychic Readers Network, Inc., were based out of the Sunshine State. In 2002, the Federal Trade Commission forced them to dole out a $500 million settlement, saying the classic "Call Me Now" commercials were deceptive. Cleo was last seen selling used cars for a Plantation-based dealer named Uncle Mel.

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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.