A Manhattan “psychic” bilked a marketing executive out of more than $700,000 because he was so desperate to get a woman he’d met to love him that he fell for some of the most ridiculous cons imaginable. By his own admission, the object of his affection “didn’t want to be with me, and the girl had categorically made that clear,” but he refused to take no for an answer.
On Aug. 24, 2013, he walked across the Williamsburg Bridge and wound up in front of 253 West 43rd Street. The neon sign in the window read “Psychic.”
Ms. Delmaro greeted him and assured him that he and Michelle were “twin flames,” but that negativity was keeping them apart. “Spirits talk to me,” she said, according to the man’s statement, but there was a price. He paid her $2,500 and, after a second visit, $9,000 more.
A month later, in September, Ms. Delmaro told him she needed diamonds to protect his energy. He paid $40,064 for a ring from Tiffany’s and gave it to Ms. Delmaro, who promised he would use it as an engagement ring someday, the man said.
Michelle lived in Los Angeles. Go to her, Ms. Delmaro said.
He went. He texted Michelle. I’m on a boat, she replied, but let’s meet tomorrow.
“I was ecstatic,” he wrote. They met and talked and made plans for that night. But she backed out.
“She felt I had been acting strange,” he wrote.
Ms. Delmaro told him the trouble had come from a spirit that was stalking him. She needed $28,000, then $28,000 more. Michelle had grown cold so suddenly, he thought, that the spirit explanation sounded right, and so he paid.
A month later, Ms. Delmaro suggested they perform a fake funeral ritual to make the spirit think the man was dead. Another $40,000.
When that didn’t work, Ms. Delmaro said she needed a time machine to go back and cleanse his past. When the man balked, she said a suitable watch would do the job, and gave him a list of choices. He said he selected one of the cheaper ones: a rose gold Rolex for $30,000.
In December, Ms. Delmaro said that they had to lure the spirit over a bridge of gold in the other realm, so that it would become trapped. She said $80,000 would buy an 80-mile bridge.
Ms. Delmaro, it should be noted, promised to return most of the money when her work was done. By year’s end, the bill had reached more than $320,000.
The spirit was crossing the bridge, “albeit very slowly,” the man wrote. Then Ms. Delmaro said they needed a second bridge, for Michelle’s spirit, and it needed to be 10 miles longer than the first one.
“I thought to myself, ‘I have the money just sitting in the bank,’ ” the man wrote, paying out $90,000.
The woman he was psychically stalking had, by that point, actually died. And he still came back for more:
“Delmaro then told me she was going to reincarnate Michelle,” the man wrote. The new Michelle “wouldn’t be exactly” like the old one, but her spirit would be placed into the body of a 31-year-old woman.
One year and many payouts passed. By then, Ms. Delmaro said she was working so many hours on his behalf that she had no time to tell fortunes and was behind in the rent. He sent money — even borrowing $28,000 from a colleague that he guaranteed with his future earnings — until he finally ran out.
I’m broke, he told Ms. Delmaro after selling his car and borrowing from friends and relatives in addition to the colleague.
The new Michelle was in Los Angeles, she told him. Go find her.
He met a woman in California that Ms. Delmaro later said was the new Michelle. But the woman was 24, not 31, and Michelle did not seem to be inside her.
Go figure. After he was dead broke, he went to the police. The “psychic” is now awaiting trial. As usual, I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, screw that psychic, she’s a fraud and should go to jail so she can’t defraud others. On the other hand, am I really supposed to feel bad for this guy? It’s bad enough that he couldn’t just take no for an answer from a woman who didn’t want to be with him, but the fact that he was dumb enough to fall for all of these scams? Caveat emptor, you idiot.