Michael Marks, of the Psychic Fraud Family, Pleads Guilty
34-year-old Michael Marks of the infamous Marks’ family of fortune-tellers who are all being charged with running a multimillion-dollar scam on their clients plead guilty to a single criminal charge earlier this week.
Marks and eight of his other family members from Broward County were all under investigation for several claims of fraud from their customers. He had a lone charge separate from his family members on which he plead guilty and reached a plea agreement. He confessed that he did in fact have a role in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy that has been going back as far as the early 2000’s, in the counties of Broward and Palm Beach.
Rose Marks is the mother of the Marks family of fortune-tellers being accused, and is also the one that began this intricate scheme. In August of 2011, nine members of the family were arrested due to allegedly swindling about $40 million from their customers. $20 million of that was scammed out of Jude Deveraux, a very successful and well-known author.
The Marks’ defense attorneys are strongly contesting the charges. They have even accused the investigators in the case of misconduct.
The prosecutors informed the judge early this week of how they decided to take the case back to a federal grand jury and are going to alter the allegations and charges, this will be the third time the charges have been modified since the case was filed.
Michael Marks and his wife Cynthia used to operate a psychic business on Sunrise Boulevard in Manhattan named Astrology Life Inc. Marks was the president of it and his wife worked with him.
On Wednesday, Marks plead guilty to the charge of conspiracy in federal court. He confessed to having received cash and gold coins that were scammed by the rest of his family from their customers. He even received gold coins valued at $107,000 from a single unsuspecting victim in 2010.
According to court records, their scheme was to fool the customers into thinking they were receiving genuine psychic and tarot card readings. The females in the family would tell the customers that they had curses on them and that they could remove the curses by receiving cash, jewelry, or anything else of value from them so that they could perform rituals and cleansings.
The victims were promised that their money and valuables would be returned to them when the curse was gone but they never received anything back.
According to prosecutors, sometimes the Marks family would have the customers send money and payment to a third party so that the actual receivers of the funds would remain hidden.
Marks’ lead defense attorney, a man named Fred Schwartz revealed that the decision by Marks to make a plea agreement was reached due to the fact that him and Cynthia have young children.
“He wanted to be sure that in the unlikely even that this wife is found guilty and goes to prison, he can be there for his children,” said Schwartz. “Even though I believe he’s innocent, he needed to protect himself and his family, you never know what a jury is going to do.”
In January, the remaining Marks family members will begin their court trials. According to Schwartz, Michael Marks has not made any mention of testifying against his family members. Michael Marks’ sentencing is scheduled for February and there is a possibility that he will face up to six months in prison.