Not all crimes involve allegations of violence or outright theft. Some crimes, such as fraud, are less clear. Depending on the circumstances, such allegations are a result of the perceptions of others. This may best be illustrated in the recent trial of a Florida woman many consulted for psychic services. The woman was recently found guilty of defrauding clients of a total of $25 million over the course of more than two decades.
The verdict came after a four-week trial in which the woman’s former clients testified. Among other things, the federal indictment charges the woman with:
- Filing false tax returns
- Money laundering
- Wire and mail fraud
- Money-laundering conspiracy
- Fraud conspiracy
The prosecution asserted that the 62-year-old woman took advantage of clients who were experiencing difficulty in their lives that made them vulnerable. One of the individuals who she allegedly took advantage of is a well known author. The fortune telling was done both in person as well as over the phone. The defendant claimed she provided a real service to her clients that was entirely legal.
The psychic was not the only member if her family who was arrested in connection with the fraud. When she was taken into custody, several of her family members were taken into custody as well. They pled guilty to the charges they faced.
The woman faces spending the remainder of her life behind bars. At the sentencing which is expected to take place later this year, she could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Each day individuals throughout the state of Florida face charges for white collar crimes. While the circumstances surrounding most of those charges are not as sensational as this case, the consequences are often no less serious. Accordingly, most find it beneficial to work with a criminal defense lawyer.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Jury finds Lauderdale ‘psychic’ guilty of defrauding clients of $25 million,” Paula McMahon, Sept. 26, 2013