Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
Hollywood fortuneteller Olivia Evans was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Monday and ordered to pay her scam victims more than $400,000. She tried to apologize and reportedly made a relatively big scene
in the courtroom, saying, "I was guided in the wrong way of life, and now I realize what I've done wrong," according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The 22-year-old told the judge she wanted to get her GED and "show my children an American way of life," but court documents tell a story of the other American way of life -- the one where you rip off stupid people for everything they've got and hope nobody catches on.
The scam looks to have centered around -- really -- Evans' ability to clean money with the help of her mother-in-law, Pollie Evans, and Pollie's sister, Bridgette Evans. The three lied, prosecutors wrote, "to induce individuals into sending to them thousands of dollars to be 'cleansed' of evil spirits and then failing to return said monies to these individuals as promised."
They told victims "they could determine if evil spirits were present in their lives or the lives of their loved ones and if those spirits were causing illnesses and other problems." The spirits and illnesses would disappear, they said, if they could just clean that cash, wired to them through Western Union or MoneyGram.
In perhaps the most transparent of the South Florida schemes, the Evans crew then just... refused to give the money back. And, because the money had gone through Western Union, they got charged with wire fraud.
And if you're thinking maybe they really thought they could clean the money, Olivia Evans also pocketed a fancy watch -- she said it was necessary that Lisa Sullivan from Fort Worth, Tex. "purchase a Rolex watch with a prism, stating that the watch was needed to be used as a vortex for demons to return to hell." A coincidence that you can't make a demon-vortex out of a Timex from Wal-Mart?
Evans also told Sullivan that "evil spirits were causing her problems and that evil things were going to happen to her and her family," according to prosecutors. Evans then told the woman "to send money to her to take care of the evil things" and that "if she did not send the money as requested, bad things would happen to 'L.S.' and 'L.S.'s'family."
So Sullivan sent the watch, plus $9 grand, and never got either back. The watch was a Rolex model 11-6201, which retails for about $10,000
on its own, according to AuthenticWatches.com. Sullivan said she eventually sent $400,000 between December 2007 and January 2009.
Though Evans pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one of mail fraud last September, her lawyer asked that the sentencing guidelines be reduced both because she pleaded guilty before prosecutors found evidence of additional thefts, and because "the defendants have been identified as Romany gypsies. The art of mysticism, psychic ability and fortune telling have been taught to the defendants by their elders at a very young age."
The lawyer wrote about how Evans had been adopted into a family of psychics at age 5 and was pulled out of school in fifth grade, and that "her vocational interests and direction were provided by her elders and pointed Olivia in a direction of becoming a psychic/healer. Her entire past roles and relevant work history have consisted of the same."
Ah, the old "I come from a family of crooks" defense. The pre-sentencing filing references information in an investigation report that isn't group with the other court filings; trying to get a copy to make that a bit clearer. In any case, here are some of the other relevant documents if you want to look through them: