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.

Pat Kinsella
Pat Kinsella

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."

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22 comments
dontbefooled
dontbefooled

I've got a little test for any supposed psychics out there. This is open only to those that believe that they have psychic powers. 

I have written a random number down on a piece of paper. I am looking at the number right now. I will look at the number again from time to time. Simply channel my thoughts, and tell me the number. 


NayaAerodiode
NayaAerodiode

These fortune tellers are selling hope, and honestly, I'd rather them make the profit from their sales than any of the other purveyors of hope out there - that is, politicians and religious organizations.  At least the fortune tellers only scam the willing, and they only spend the money on cars and vacations, rather than the really destructive things that churches and political organizations do.  If a fool is going to be separated from his money, I'd rather it go to these guys than preachers.

wingedwolfpsion
wingedwolfpsion

Please don't refer to these people as psychics.  They are NOT psychic. They are frauds.  There are many legitimate people out there who are trying to use their abilities honestly.  You may not believe in them, but THEY believe in themselves, and do their best to represent their skills honestly.  (Here's a hint - no one legitimate tells you that you're cursed, and offers to lift it for additional money - they'd either offer to lift it for free, or wouldn't offer at all.  Plus, that sort of thing is pretty rare (depending on where you live).

Also, haven't the Roma been discriminated against enough, without being implicated, as a people, in things like this?  Discrimination against Roma in the US has been less severe than in many other places.  Fueling it is reprehensible.

gypsyhunter
gypsyhunter

sometimes people are in dire need of answers to the problems in their life. When someone is already in a vulnerable place, seeing a psychic for direction may seem like the last resort. Nobody goes to a psychic already knowing that they are cursed. Perhaps they should change their con to something different bc it seems like everyone that goes to them is somehow cursed. While some psychics are not fraudulent and may offer words of wisdom, others are in for the kill. The difference is that these fraudulent fortune tellers are selling false hope to vulnerable people, they are stealing money by false pretense. If what they are doing was not criminal, they would not be arrested and prosecuted. More and more people are stepping up to the plate and going after them. The majority of them chose to remain illiterate and not assimilate into American society. They should go back to where they came from. They truly are disgusting people. If you have not experienced it, DONT knock it!

gypsyhunter
gypsyhunter

sometimes people are in dire need of answers to the problems in their life. When someone is already in a vulnerable place, seeing a psychic for direction may seem like the last resort. Nobody goes to a psychic already knowing that they are cursed. Perhaps they should change their con to something different bc it seems like everyone that goes to them is somehow cursed. While some psychics are not fraudulent and may offer words of wisdom, others are in for the kill. The difference is that these fraudulent fortune tellers are selling false hope to vulnerable people, they are stealing money by false pretense. If what they are doing was not criminal, they would not be arrested and prosecuted. More and more people are stepping up to the plate and going after them. The majority of them chose to remain illiterate and not assimilate into American society. They should go back to where they came from. They truly are disgusting people. If you have not experienced it, DONT knock it!

gypsyhunter
gypsyhunter

sometimes people are in dire need of answers to the problems in their life. When someone is already in a vulnerable place, seeing a psychic for direction may seem like the last resort. Nobody goes to a psychic already knowing that they are cursed. Perhaps they should change their con to something different bc it seems like everyone that goes to them is somehow cursed. While some psychics are not fraudulent and may offer words of wisdom, others are in for the kill. The difference is that these fraudulent fortune tellers are selling false hope to vulnerable people, they are stealing money by false pretense. If what they are doing was not criminal, they would not be arrested and prosecuted. More and more people are stepping up to the plate and going after them. The majority of them chose to remain illiterate and not assimilate into American society. They should go back to where they came from. They truly are disgusting people. If you have not experienced it, DONT knock it!

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

People need to stop being gullible.  What these people did was truly horrific, but there are no laws that can prevent gullible people from giving money to these people.  Psychics do not exist.  If they did, do you think they would be working out of a crappy storefront or house?  

Apply logic.  If it does not make sense, dont take part.

dontbefooled
dontbefooled

@NayaAerodiode These fortune tellers are cleaning out the entire bank accounts of their gullible victims in short order. 

Religious organizations usually take a small portion of your money over time, not all at once. For that reason, I would say that the fortune tells are worse. 

It's a little harder to avoid the government completely, so I'll ignore that point.

I will agree that belief in nonsense, like you get from religion, could lead you to belief systems that will allow you to get fleeced by gypsies. 

Your best defense is to have a world view that comports as closely to reality as possible. 

gypsyhunter
gypsyhunter

@smdrpepper sometimes people are in dire need of answers to the problems in their life. When someone is already in a vulnerable place, seeing a psychic for direction may seem like the last resort. Nobody goes to a psychic already knowing that they are cursed. Perhaps they should change their con to something different bc it seems like everyone that goes to them is somehow cursed. While some psychics are not fraudulent and may offer words of wisdom, others are in for the kill. The difference is that these fraudulent fortune tellers are selling false hope to vulnerable people, they are stealing money by false pretense. If what they are doing was not criminal, they would not be arrested and prosecuted. More and more people are stepping up to the plate and going after them. The majority of them chose to remain illiterate and not assimilate into American society. They should go back to where they came from. They truly are disgusting people. If you have not experienced it, DONT knock it!

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

@gypsyhunter @smdrpepper Its still fake.  There are no psychics and never have been.  All of them are out to take advantage of those people who are gullible and seeking answers for things when they just cannot blame themselves.

Sorry, but ALL psychics are fake and con artists.

dontbefooled
dontbefooled

@wingedwolfpsion @dontbefooled 

Wrong again. You're just talking out your ass again. That's not the scientific method at all. You don't try to prove a negative. 

Psychic phenominon has not been PROVEN. It fails every time they attempt to demonstrate it in controlled scientific tests. That's why rational people discount it. If we believed in every wild assertion because it could not be disproven, we would believe a bunch of crazy stuff, as you appear to. And we would be in the right frame of mind to be ripped off like the poor souls in the stories above.

I'll be happy to change my belief system when new scientific evidence is presented. As for the rest of your screed, it's just more wild-ass conspiracy stuff to be discounted out of hand by rational people. 

wingedwolfpsion
wingedwolfpsion

@dontbefooled @wingedwolfpsion It's never been proven not to, either.  You confuse lack of proof with proof of lack - a common mistake among those who do not understand the scientific method, but are overly fond of their own belief system.  Any scientist would laugh at your statement (that things which are not proven can be discounted).  How incurious of you!  The reality is more complicated than you imagine it to be.  People with ability have far more to lose when proof comes, than they would have to gain.  The reaction of those who do not have ability would not be something any of us wants to see.  As a result, you will find few people with high level ability are willing to put themselves into a lab.  I would point out that our government is still using remote viewing, however.  They seem quite attached to top secret programs utilizing this ability which you discount...  Your confidence makes you the same as any other religious fanatic; make no mistake about that.

dontbefooled
dontbefooled

@wingedwolfpsion @dontbefooled 

Wrong! Psychic phenomenon has never been proven to exist. Until it is, it can be discounted entirely just like any other absurd claim that you want to pull out of your ass.


dontbefooled
dontbefooled

@wingedwolfpsion @smdrpepper @gypsyhunter 

THEY may believe in what they do. That does not change the fact that what they believe in is untrue. If you believe in things that are untrue, then you are a sucker. A sheep ready to be fleeced. 


TBPlayer
TBPlayer

@wingedwolfpsion @smdrpepper @gypsyhunter There may be some people who honestly believe they are "psychic," but if so, they are deluded.  They may not be as morally culpable as the knowing frauds (the vast majority of "psychics," IMHO), but they probably do as much damage.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

@wingedwolfpsion @smdrpepper @gypsyhunter I agree, they believe in fleecing the gullible from their money.  Show me one bit of evidence that "psychic powers" exist and I will reconsider.  However, since there is no proof of any of these so called "psychics" have done anything but harm, any benefit they may have is purely a placebo.

 
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