As scam artists go, Gina Marks is maddeningly persistent. The 37-year-old from Hollywood has been busted before for what Broward Sheriff's Office calls "gypsy" crimes. Last May she was convicted of felony fraud, but she received only probation, which paved the way for another arrest last week on charges that she swindled a woman out of $300,000.
The BSO release doesn't name the victim but says that it was a Coconut Creek woman who was in a "fragile mental state."
From the release:
BSO's Economic Crimes detectives say that over a period of about 19 months, Marks convinced the woman that she was cursed, that her family members were in danger, that she had cancer and that her Coconut Grove apartment was tainted by evil and negativity.
Marks directed the woman into numerous bizarre acts including rubbing an egg all over her body to remove her ovarian cancer, spitting in a jar, covering it with a black pillowcase and putting it under her bed, eating only red fruit, which represented blood, because the woman needed a "spiritual transfusion" and providing hair and urine samples.
And Marks allegedly kept the ruse going right through the holidays.
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Just before Christmas 2008, Marks convinced her victim that her father was going to die of a heart attack unless she purchased gift cards from high-end department stores and gave them to Marks.
In the past, Marks has entrusted her freedom to the legal talents of Fort Lauderdale attorney Jim Lewis. But these days, Lewis is running for Florida Attorney General. You think he'll take Marks' case?
UPDATE: Just got hold of Lewis. He said that Marks has retained another legal luminary, Fred Haddad, for the most recent cases. Lewis hasn't represented Marks for about two years. That had nothing to do with his recent campaigns for public office, said Lewis, adding that his bid for AG "hasn't changed my client base at all."