Courts & Crime

Did these mail-order ‘psychics’ see the Justice Department coming?

The Justice Department on Thursday filed civil complaints against companies and individuals that allegedly scammed senior citizens and others eager for a psychic’s assistance.

Filed by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch, the Obama administration’s new nominee to serve as attorney general, the civil complaints allege quite a scheme.

“Relying on superstition and fear, the defendants defrauded tens of millions of dollars from thousands of vulnerable citizens,” Lynch said in a statement.

According to the complaint:

In letters, purported psychics state they are contacting the recipient based on a specific vision or psychic reading revealing the recipient has the opportunity to dramatically improve his or her financial circumstance, including claims of winning millions in the lottery.

The solicitation letters appear personalized, repeatedly referring to the recipient by first name and often containing portions that appear handwritten. The solicitations urge victims to purchase various products and services in order to ensure that the foreseen good fortune comes to pass.

One letter included in the complaint, for instance, was addressed to a resident of Largo, Fla., telling the recipient in large print that “3,000,000.00 will enter your life. It’s true!!”

“I must tell you frankly,” the letter starts, “that truly you are an extraordinary person. Did you really think you received this letter by chance? Let’s be serious. There is nothing random about this matter.”

The Justice Department stated that “Destiny Research Center and the Canadian company Infogest Direct Marketing, sends direct mail solicitations allegedly written by psychics Maria Duval and Patrick Guerin” and that “New York companies CLGE Inc. and I.D. Marketing Solutions Inc., sends direct mail solicitations allegedly written by psychics David Phild, Sandra Rochefort, Antonia Donera and Nicholas Chakan.”