A 62-year-old psychic will spend some of her golden years in prison after what the Broward-Palm Beach New Times calls "the largest case of fortune-telling fraud ever to hit a courtroom." After decades operating in New York City and Fort Lauderdale, Rose Marks was sentenced to 10 years Monday for scamming customers to the tune of $17.8 million.
Prosecutors had sought at least 22 years, the Palm Beach Post notes. Among Marks' victims was bestselling author Jude Devereaux, who reportedly provided $12 million over 20 years.
"These people for whatever reason wanted to believe these crazy stories," said the judge. "I'm certainly not a psychologist and I can't figure out how any rational human being would believe any of the representations made by Mrs. Marks." Marks told Devereaux she could reconnect her with her dead 8-year-old son through a soul-swapping procedure; she also led the author to believe both Colin Powell and Brad Pitt were in love with her, prosecutors said.
Marks reportedly took jewelry from customers, telling them she'd wipe curses from it and return it. According to testimony, she told others she could protect them from IRS prying, the Sun Sentinel reports.
"At the time I didn’t realize what I was doing was wrong," a tearful Marks said, calling victims "dear friends." "Now, I realize that I caused a lot of hurt and disappointment."More From Newser