As if the court case up in West Palm pitting a fortuneteller against her former clients couldn't get any weirder, this week the Rose Marks trial went to warp speed. Jude Deveraux -- the bestselling romance novelist at the center of the $25 million fraud allegations -- took the stand this week. When we were putting together an earlier investigation into psychic fraud, we bumped into a lot of wild tales. Deveraux's testimony was by far the strangest and saddest we've ever heard involving mediums milking money from clients.
5. $1 million can buy a peaceful divorce. The author originally started seeking Marks' counsel in the early 90s when she was going through a bad divorce. The psychic allegedly won the woman's confidence by accurately predicting when her spouse would file (good guess) and that he could show up to her apartment upset (not exactly a longshot). Marks eventually asked for $1 million for mediations. The trances would ensure a "peaceful divorce." Marks also told Deveraux to settle out of court because her ex would be dead after three years. He didn't die, the divorce was anything but "peaceful," and it sounds like Deveraux got screwed in the settlement.
4. Colin Powell and Jude Deveraux were imagined as secret lovers...For four years, a friend and client of Rose Marks named Debbie Von Beulen, who lived in Arizona, wrote love-faxes that were purported to come from former Secretary of State, Hey-Look-at-All-These-WMDs Colin Powell, and Deveraux wrote back. The back-and-forth outlined a situation where Powell would divorce his wife for the writer, then become vice president. Von Beulen testified that she only impersonated Powell as a writing exercise at the behest of Marks. It's unclear whether Deveraux knew these were writing exercises or whether she was led to believe they were really communications from Powell.
3. In the administration of President John Edwards. Okay . . . come on . . . that's a bit of a stretch even for a fortuneteller fraud case.
2. Deveraux would be reunited with her dead son. After the author's young child passed away in 2005, a distraught Deveraux sought counsel from Marks. The psychic allegedly said that she'd seen this coming, so she'd saved one of Deveraux's embryos and implanted it in a virgin "who looked like the late Princess Grace of Monaco," the Sun Sentinel reports. The woman gave birth to a son -- the brother of Deveraux's dead boy. The author later would die, Marks said, and her soul would take up house inside this young virgin. Mother and son would be reunited in their new incarnations.
In what by far is one of the most gut-kicking images of sadness we've come across lately, Marks at one point instructed Deveraux to come down to a South Florida beach and watch the mother and child from afar. The mother, it turns out, was Cynthia Miller, a member of the Marks' family.
1. Brad Bitt and Jude Deveraux's Host Body were Secretly Married. Back on the crazy train: Marks allegedly told Deveraux that her eventual-host-self had secretly hitched with Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt. When Deveraux assumed her new form after death, she'd be married to Pitt as well. Maybe to get things rolling, they two began swapping emails around 2007. Pitt's end -- of course -- was handled by Von Beulen, the fake Colin Powell.
It probably bears pointing out there that Von Beulen testified for the prosecution in the case only after getting immunity from prosecution. Again, she claims that the letters weren't meant to dupe Deveraux; they were aid to help the author write her romances.
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