FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- Vivian Marks, a Fort Lauderdale fortuneteller charged in a psychic fraud scam, won a federal judge’s approval on Friday that will allow her to seek work with an online psychic service company.
Last year 22-year-old Marks and eight family members were charged with running a multi-million dollar fraud. A judge had banned them from working as spiritual guides or psychics.
However, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins felt that the online company that hires Marks had sufficient safeguards to ensure she doesn’t engage in any fraudulent activity. He also thought it would be constructive for her to engage in “lawful employment” while working toward an online GED.
Upon exiting the court, Marks told reporters that the judge’s decision had given her relief. “Yes, this gives me an opportunity,” she stated. Marks was incarcerated for several weeks after her arrest in August of 2011 and sentenced to house arrest after.
Other than being employed at Sage Restaurant as a hostess for a short period, Marks has not been able to find employment. This is primarily due to the fact that she has no more than a third-grade education. She also lacks any work skills besides her “God-given talent of fortune-telling,” her defense attorney Edward Reagan said.
Reagen requested permission for Marks to apply for a job as a “spiritual adviser and fortune teller.” He petitioned for her to work with an online psychic service that provides “advice and professional consulting services.”
Reagan compared Marks’ situation to that of children of firefighters who follow in their parents’ footsteps and become firefighters themselves. “Children of fortune-tellers become the same thing that their parents are,” Reagan said. “This is a long tradition that the family has.”
Prosecutors Fought For Marks To Not Be Allowed In The Psychic Business
Although being a psychic isn’t against the law, prosecutors felt that Marks shouldn’t work in the spiritual field. “By letting her get back into the business, “ Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence Bardfeld argued, “I think we run into a slippery slope. I just don’t want them to have any opportunities to commit that type of fraud again.”
Reagan argued that online psychic websites have sufficient “levels of protection” since they record and monitor all chats and calls. They’re not allowed to communicate with clients offline, and all payments would be credit card payments to be handled solely through the company.
“I’m convinced that the situation proposed does offer an opportunity for the defendant to engage in lawful employment while still minimizing the ability to engage in [fraudulent] activity,” Judge Hopkins ruled.
Prosecutors argued that Marks and several of her family members defrauded clients, including highly famed author Jude Deveraux, out of millions of dollars by telling them that they could predict the future and eliminate curses.
Their clients exposed Marks and her family as scammers due to unfulfilled promises. Marks would promise to return the client’s money if they were not satisfied with the services. However, when asked for a refund, Marks refused to follow through with her guarantee, prosecutors stated.
Regarding these charges, all nine accused members of the family have pleaded “not guilty.”
This story is proof that using a Psychic network is much much safer than visiting independent psychics. Even a Federal Judge feels that online psychic networks prevent psychics from scamming customers.