Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Phony psychic sentenced..."? As opposed to all the "real" psychics?

Stories like these are why institutions like the JREF are important:
A phony psychic who fled prosecution in Seattle and ended up on a wanted-fugitive list in Canada was sentenced Friday to 1-½ years in prison nearly nine years after tricking a lovesick woman into turning over her life savings to win back her boyfriend.

In sentencing 79-year-old Sophie Evon to a sentence longer than the standard three- to six-month range, King County Superior Court Judge Nicole MacInnes said she was unmoved by Evon's plea of guilt once she was finally caught after years on the run.

Prosecutors had asked for the exceptional sentence because of the amount of money involved and the victim's vulnerability.

But Evon's attorney said his client accepted responsibility by pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree theft in October and had already cut the victim two $5,000 "good faith" restitution checks.

Wow! Two "good faith" checks, totaling $10,000? That's a lot of money! Who wouldn't be happy with that?

Well, I'm certainly not. And with good reason:
Prosecutors said Evon and her daughter-in-law, Sylvia Lee, met the victim at a video store in the summer of 1999 and persuaded the woman that she needed a $300 "spiritual cleansing" to help her win back her ex-boyfriend.

Evon and Lee — who then ran a business called Ms. Lee's Psychic and Astrology Readings — told the distraught 26-year-old that her ex-boyfriend had been cursed by his former girlfriend, police and prosecutors said.

Over the next couple of days, Evon and Lee persuaded the victim, a recent immigrant from China, that she could free her boyfriend from the curse and be reunited with him by allowing them to pray over all the cash she could get her hands on, prosecutors said.

Despite her "doubts," the victim withdrew more than $200,000 cash from her savings account and her parents' retirement account and entrusted it to the two.

When the victim returned for an appointment with Evon and Lee two days later, she found the psychics and the money gone.

Yep--the victim (who remains anonymous) gave over $200,000 to these people. And they think returning $10,000--a mere five percent of that--is a sign of "good faith"?

This woman was swindled out of not only her savings, but her parents' retirement fund, because she was emotionally distraught. The perpetrators of this scam are leeches, feeding off of desperation and naivety and loss. They, like Sylvia Browne and John Edward and all these other frauds, trick people whose only crimes were to have lost someone and to believe in the false hope that these abominable hucksters offer them. My contempt of these emetic swindlers, who take advantage of grief and pain to rob people of money, cannot be understated.

But the worst part of it all is that, while these two individuals were arrested (even though I think 18 months is a slap on the wrist for stealing $200,000), people who do just the same are allowed to continue their business because they make lip-service to God. Even Peter Popoff, who was proven to be a fraud and a charlatan by James Randi, is back in business, getting gullible people to send him money they can't afford to--one lady only stopped sending Popoff checks when she had no money left for food. But he can't be taken in for fraud because he's got God on his side.

These people are the shit of the earth.

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