‘Psychic’ Found Guilty, Faces 20 Years

“Psychic” fraud Ruth Marks of Florida and New York was found guilty by a jury on 14 counts of fraud for bilking clients out of some $25 million. Those clients included best-selling romance novelist Jude Deveraux and dozens of others. Despite the fact that most other members of her family already pleaded guilty, they’re furious over the guilty verdicts.

Seeing the 62-year-old matriarch convicted of 14 fraud-related charges and immediately slapped in handcuffs on Thursday was too much for family members who were part of and benefited from the multi-million-dollar fortune-telling business that collapsed under the weight of a federal investigation.

Some reached out, trying to touch her. One threw a Bible. One called out to the lead investigator, mocking him. When they realized their beloved mother, grandmother and sister was about to walk through an open door and be taken to jail, shouts rang out.

“Mom, I love you!” one called. “Don’t be afraid!” yelled another.

“I’m not afraid,” Marks responded, as U.S. Marshals surrounded her. “I love you, too.”

The emotional end to the monthlong trial was not as unexpected as the verdict. When the trial began, cynics scoffed at the notion that a psychic could be charged with separating a fool and his money.

But, prosecutors methodically built a case, showing how Marks, her daughters-in-law and even her granddaughter preyed on broken people who came to their storefronts in midtown Manhattan and Fort Lauderdale to deal with tragedies life had handed them. Instead of solace or guidance, they told clients the only way out was to give them money — lots of it — with the promise it would one day be returned. Instead, the psychics amassed a roughly $25 million fortune.

While recognizing the danger of this kind of prosecution, I’m still smiling about it. This woman is a fraud and a con artist. She got what she deserved.

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About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Trebuchet

    What, no “Bet she didn’t see that coming!” post yet?

  • abb3w

    Maybe she did see it coming, and decided $25M in exchange for 20 years was a decent trade.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    …give them money — lots of it — with the promise it would one day be returned. Instead, the psychics amassed a roughly $25 million fortune.

    And they were JUST about to give back that $25M when the mean cops busted them.

    More surprising is that some spirits were telling them about the letter C (cops) and G (guilty).

  • arakasi

    More surprising is that some spirits were telling them about the letter C (cops) and G (guilty).

    Now which episode of Sesame Street was that again? Was that when Big Bird got some bad birdseed and started shooting at the invisible elephant that was following him?

  • besomyka

    I think psychics are confusing ghosts with Sesame Street.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I see…I see a musical instrument…a small one… tiny…tiny…four strings…it’s clearer now…clearing…it’s wood…polished…It’s in this building…this room…I see the world’s smallest violin.

  • zero6ix

    Quick head’s up, in case these psychics are combing the internet for any news not revealed by their tarot cards: prisoners enjoy diversions as much as anyone, but they tend to react a little more…intensely…than your average civilian when they are made to look like fools.

  • Drew

    Clearly the problem here is that they promised to give the money back. If the psychics had just told their marks that the funds were needed to pay “for spell materials” or “items needed for the communion with the dead” there would have been no crime.

  • tubi

    If the psychics had just told their marks that the funds were needed to pay “for spell materials” or “items needed for the communion with the dead” there would have been no crime.

    Like communion wafers and rosary beads?

  • brianwestley

    Drew, it reminds me of Robert Tilton, who was accused of throwing out prayer requests (after removing the money) without praying over them. All he needed to do was pray over them before throwing them out, and everything would have been hunky-dory.

    Even so, being a Christian huckster seems to have kept him out of prison.

  • whheydt

    Her mistake was not claiming to be the minister of a church. If she, had, it would probably all have been perfectly legal.

  • exdrone

    Well, she didn’t escape from the handcuffs, they yelled at each other instead of exchanging thoughts, and the bible wasn’t propelled psychokinetically, so I guess there won’t be an appeal.

  • grumpyoldfart

    I wonder how long it will be before the victims are paying another psychic to locate the money given to the Marks family?


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