Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sentencing in Fortune Teller Fraud Case

Would you believe someone if the person told you she was a psychic and could foresee the future?  Apparently, enough victims did because Linda Marks admitted to bilking clients, many of them elderly, out of $2 million dollars by passing herself off as a psychic.  Regardless of whether she could conjure the future, Marks received something much better from Delray Beach police officer Jack Makler: protection.  Marks and Makler pleaded guilty to fraud and corruption charges in Florida, and a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida (here) discusses the scheme:

According to previous in-court statements, Marks, a self-proclaimed psychic and fortune teller, agreed that she was responsible for bilking over two (2) million dollars from numerous elderly and otherwise vulnerable victims from 1994 through 2002. Makler, in turn, admitted that he used his official position to improperly keep Marks out of jail and from violating probation. Makler also admitted that he lied to state criminal courts in New Mexico and Key West, Florida, to help Marks and her husband, Jimmy Marks, avoid severe criminal penalties. In addition, Makler admitted to receiving money and other property from Marks and to an improper social relationship with the Marks’ during the time when he was officially assigned to investigate many of Marks’ alleged frauds. Finally, Makler admitted to lying to his department’s Internal Affairs investigators and to federal investigators on numerous separate occasions when he was questioned about his relationship with Marks and his handling of her cases.

Makler received a five-year prison term for his role in the offenses, and Marks will serve four years after the sentencing on May 10, 2005. (ph)

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