Morris County, NY- 36-year-old psychic Paula Lee is being accused of scamming $324,650 from five customers in Morris County. George Abdy, her defense lawyer, said that his client simply offered a legitimate service, which some customers believed was not worth the price that they paid.
“I haven’t seen the discovery in the case, but everybody makes allegations these days. My client does this as a service. She didn’t contact these people, they contacted her. She listens to them. If you don’t like her fees, don’t go to her”, Abdy said about Lee, who is currently living in Hewlett, N.Y.
According to an affidavit prepared by Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Barry Bittenmaster, Lee (who also goes by the aliases of Christ Eli and Chris Evans) met her customers at a fortune-telling store she used to have and told them that they needed to place large amounts of their money in churches so that she can pray over and “cleanse” the funds.
One man, who states he ended up paying Lee $5,100, was told by Lee that he had a “darkness” surrounding him and that he needed to carry a 40-pound crystal in his car to protect him. Bittenmaster also said that she told another person that they needed to give her a box containing $9,000 and two doll figures.
Lee also convinced another woman (whom she met while performing a $45 tarot-card reading for her) to send Lee and her family off to Florida and Disney World, which cost the woman about $10,000. The woman joined Lee In Florida at one point for participation of a brief ceremony that took place by a waterway. Lee persuaded the woman that it was necessary for her to participate in this ceremony in order to remove a “spell” that had ex-husband had placed on her.
According to the affidavit, the routine of “cleansing” money was very typical for Lee. Clients would give her large amounts of money so that she could pray over it and cleanse it in churches, with the belief that the money would be returned to them after she was done with this process.
The clients told Detective Bittenmaster that Lee would give them some of their money back but that she mostly just made empty promises to them about returning the “cleansed” money after she was done with it.
The affidavit also revealed that Lee went so far as to warn one of her clients that her pregnant daughter may have complications during labor and convinced the client to allow Lee to be present at the hospital when her daughter was giving birth so that she could ward off evil.
Lee was arrested from her house last week due to an arrest warrant that was issued in May. She was taken to Morris County Jail and has been charged with money laundering, numerous counts of theft, and failure to file returns and pay taxes.
Before Lee’s bail review, which happened on Thursday, Abdy and the assistant prosecutor for the county agreed that the bail amount for Lee would be kept at $75,000.
If Lee decided to post bail, State Superior Court Judge David Ironson required that she report in person on a monthly basis and over the phone on a weekly basis to a probation officer.
She was also strictly prohibited from making any kind of contact with the alleged victims.
Bittenmaster began his investigation in 2010; around the same time that Lee left the city of Randolph. He was granted grand jury subpoenas that allowed him to track Lee’s bank records and through these records, he discovered that her husband, a self-proclaimed fortuneteller named Steven Evans, had cashed checks from her victims.
This information however, did not implicate Evans in the criminal charges against his wife.
It is the belief of Morris County Prosecutor Robert A Bianchi that Lee took advantage of vulnerable and troubled people.
“The actions alleged demonstrate a clear and repetitive pattern of fleecing money from numerous victims in violation of state law,” said Bianchi. “The economic impact and emotional turmoil she is alleged to have caused by her illegal actions cannot be understated, and I applaud the detective and attorneys from this office for their efforts.”
It upsets me when people use the “well they paid for it” excuse when they con someone out of their money! Lets hope the Judge and jury see right through this weak excuse for theft!
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