Four Big Psychic Frauds: Why Fame Doesn’t Mean Legitimacy

psychic frauds

From helping with relationship questions to working with police to solve crimes, true psychics make amazing contributions to the world. Unfortunately, as they say, a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.

Some of the most notorious psychic frauds have swindled people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, given terrible advice, and created major trust issues. This goes to show that fame does not equal legitimacy and you must be careful when deciding who to trust.

Take a look at some of history’s most infamous psychic scams.

1. Miss Cleo

If you ever watched late-night TV in the 90s, you’ve heard one of the most famous tv psychics, Miss Cleo, say in her Jamaican accent, “Call me now for your free reading.”

These ads featured a 1-800 number for “free” psychic readings – but they turned out to be far from free! Millions of people called in over the years, only to find that they were on the hook for big bills – sometimes as much as $300 per call.

Even worse, people who called in didn’t get to talk to Miss Cleo. Instead, they connected with one of a few dozen “readers” who were actually actors that were paid based on the length of time they could keep callers on the line.

The operation was finally shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2002. The company had to forgive $500 million in outstanding charges and pay the FTC a penalty of $5 million.

Miss Cleo died in 2016 at the age of 53, after a bout with cancer, but her reputation as one of history’s greatest psychic scams lives on.

2. Billy Ash

This sordid story began in 2007 when wealthy hedge fund manager Seth Tobias was found dead at age 44. His wife, Filomena, found his body floating in their swimming pool.

Since he had not updated his will following a previous divorce, Filomena’s attorneys fought for her claim to the $25 million estate – an outcome that would leave his four brothers with nothing. As the debate raged on, a man named Billy Ash stepped forward, claiming that he was the deceased man’s personal assistant.

He hatched up a story that Filomena had confided in him about a plan to murder her husband by adding the sleep medication Ambien to his pasta and then luring him out to the pool with the promise of a threesome with a male stripper.

Tabloids jumped on this story and Seth’s brothers used the accusation to attempt to bar Filomena from receiving her rights to the estate. It turned out that Billy Ash was not Seth’s assistant, but was actually Filomena’s internet psychic who worked under the name “Ask Billy.”

He had used information gathered about her during their sessions to spin this story after she refused to give him money following Seth’s death. It was found that Seth died of natural causes. The estate was settled out of court and Billy Ash was never charged with a crime.

3. Rose Marks

Many fraudulent psychic stories begin when people are at the lowest points in their lives. This is what happened to best-selling author Jude Deveraux, who visited a psychic storefront during a painful divorce.

The “psychic,” Rose Marks, convinced Deveraux that “money is the root of all evil,” and convinced her to hand over millions of dollars worth of property and cash so she could “remove the curse” from it. She promised to give it all back once it was “cleansed” – but, of course, that never happened.

Marks was the matriarch of a family of “psychics” accused of scamming hundreds of clients out of their money, reaching a total of around $40 million. The family said that they never intended to defraud anyone, but a jury found otherwise.

Marks ended up being one of the first successfully prosecuted psychic frauds in United States history. She’s currently serving a 10-year sentence in a West Virginia federal prison.

4. Priscilla Kelly Delmaro

When British internet entrepreneur Niall Rice was desperately seeking to reconnect with a woman he met in drug rehab, he wandered into a Times Square psychic storefront looking for advice.

The “psychic” Priscilla Kelly Delmaro ended up duping him for a shocking $550,000! She sucked him in so deep that he continued engaging with her even after Rice’s love interest passed away.

Eventually, Delmaro was brought up on charges of grand larceny. She pled guilty and was sentenced to eight months in jail and four years of probation.

5. Rachel Lee

Ralph Raines, Jr., a wealthy heir, visited supposed “world-renowned” psychic Rachel Lee in 2004. He confided in her that his greatest desire was to get married and start a family.

Lee then set up her 17-year-old daughter to meet Raines and pose as the woman of his dreams – eventually burrowing into the family estate. The daughter had a child with Raines, who was named… Giorgio Armani.

The plot worked for a while. Lee was able to gain control of the Raines family assets. It took almost 10 years before Lee’s scam was exposed. She was prosecuted and pled guilty to conspiracy. She was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Don’t Fall for Psychic Frauds

These stories of psychic frauds are enough to make anyone nervous. Our phone psychics are truly legitimate and can help you with all of your burning questions. Give us a call today to get started with your spiritual journey and learn more about how we can help.

Speak Your Mind