Several networks running “psychic” mail scams joined forces to scam millions of dollars out of over 200,000 customers. According to the U.S. Justice Department, they did this by selling fake talismans and “visions” that were supposedly unique for each customer.
Authorities hope a judge grants them court orders so they can stop this long-running scam. Authorities filed the complaints in Central Islip U.S. District Court on the 19th of November of this year. According to them, these so-called “unique” talismans and visions were, in reality, nothing more than mass-produced knick-knacks and bulk mail.
They came from three companies in Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Canada: CLGE Network, I.D Marketing Solutions, Destiny Research Center, and Infogest Direct Marketing. These three companies compiled lists of people who believe in psychics and astrology. Then, they took advantage of unsuspecting senior citizens and the financially unsavvy.
These two groups paid anywhere from $20 to $50 for cheap trinkets bought in Asia for about $1.20. They were under the belief that historical figures had used the products themselves. Authorities believe these scams began around 2002 as letters fake psychics wrote with “personal predictions” and lottery numbers. They mailed these letters to those on their lists and sounded very convincing.
These Companies Used Fake Promises And Scare Tactics
They used scare tactics and told recipients bad things would happen to them if they didn’t pay for their services. In addition, they told unsuspecting victims that the Universe would tear their energy fields apart if they didn’t listen. They would tell them that good fortune is coming to them, and if they don’t buy these talismans or psychic readings, they will lose those fortunes and windfalls, according to the complaints filed.
One set of bulk letters even went so far as to say, “Goodbye peace, goodbye 7 million dollars… Hello, sadness and never-ending anxiety.” The company that processed the payments for the scammers, Metro Data Management or Data Marketing Group, and their chief executive Keitha Rocco would receive the mail back from the unsuspecting consumers.
This mail had payments and letters to psychics asking about money and health problems. When asked for a comment, Rocco refused to give one. Federal authorities say that Rocco’s company processed over 23,000 consumer responses to CLGE in letters and mail in March and April alone. According to the United States Postal Service investigation and court filings, Destiny Research Center has mailed out about 56 million letters to naïve consumers.
Rocco’s company processed about $500,000 in payments every two weeks. Attempts to contact the attorneys for all companies involved in these scams have been unsuccessful. The Long Island U.S. attorney’s office has now filed temporary restraining orders against these fraudulent businesses and sought court orders to authorize the USPS to step in.