This just keeps happening again and again. This week, Boca Raton Police tossed the cuffs on another psychic accused to using her connection to the spirit realm to line her pockets with cash. Stephanie Thompson -- who did her cosmic business under the name Stephanie Lee -- had a plan of attack that was so textbook, it's like reading a primer on psychic scams.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Lee first met her victim in May 2012 at the Psychic Tea Room on North Federal Highway in Boca. Below we've broken Thompson's scam down into the familiar particulars.
The Curse. Thompson sank the hook into her client by announcing that the woman was cursed and that she'd need $2,000 to complete the psychic work necessary to smash the spell.
Shhhhh. The psychic then allegedly kept asking the woman for more money for the work. She also told the victim not to tell anyone else about the payments. Spreading the word would ruin everything, the psychic said.
You'll Get It Back, No Worries. Besides, the sales pitch went, the psychic was just going to pray over the money and give it back to the victim. Once this was all over -- the curse broken and happiness restored -- the victim would have the money back.
The Cancer. Oh, but if the woman didn't hand over the money, she might get the same cancer that befell her mother, the psychic promised, not only sinking that hook but twisting it a couple of times to prove the point.
In the end, the victim allegedly forked over somewhere in the neighborhood of $108,000. Thompson is being charged with grand theft and organized fraud. The 23-year-old psychic reportedly told police she lost the money at a casino (Peanut gallery: NOT VERY GOOD AT PREDICTING THINGS, RIGHT? RIGHT?).
One thing we'd like to point out here is that a year or so ago, very few psychic scams ever made it inside a courtroom. In part, this was due to the hurtles prosecutors faced -- in the end, this is a crime in which the victim willingly handed over the money. But since the prosecution of Rose Marks, not to mention increased attention to the trend, more psychic cases are going to court.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.