Fake Psychic

A report by the St. Petersburg Times.Psychic fails to predict her own arrest. From Agence France Presse, Sept. 4:
A US woman who claimed to be a psychic medium and conned her clients and the taxman was Wednesday ordered to pay 60,000 dollars restitution to her victims. Sonia Merino, 50 and her husband Steve Merino, 44, each admitted one count of tax fraud in connection with their mail business called "Sonia Psychic Advisor" and agreed to repay 60,000 dollars in ill-gotten gains, including 1,200 dollars to a client to whom she sold fake holy water. In addition to demanding that the couple stump up restitution for their victims, prosecutors have also recommended that the pair serve 18 to 24 months in jail and that they repay 316,427 dollars to the tax man. They were due to be sentenced on November 18. The disgraced Los Angeles-area "psychic" and her daughter daughter-in-law were initially charged with five counts of mail fraud, which carries heavy penalties, but Merino forged a plea bargain with prosecutors in return for those charges against her being dropped. The 23-year-old wife of her son however still faces those charges, while her parents -- who allegedly also tried to hide 850,000 dollars worth of income from the business from the Internal Revenue Service -- made a deal, a Los Angeles court heard. Prosecutors alleged that the women advertised services for certain prices, then told clients they had to pay for additional services to clear away curses or negative spiritual forces.


Posted on Thu Sep 05, 2002


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