On February 2nd, 2016 two women were arrested and accused of committing “fortune telling fraud” in Times Square. The two women were a supposed psychic and her daughter-in-law who worked together. They fell for it when a private investigator sent an operative into their place of business and told the psychic that he thought he was plagued by a curse and needed their help. They agreed to help him remove it for the cost of $1,000.
Psychics in the New York City area are very diverse, differing from honest, friendly palm readers whose charges are reasonable to professional con artists who manage to scam people out of extraordinary amounts of money, even up to $700,000 in one highly publicized case. In this case that got the scammers arrested, a private eye that specializes on fraudulent psychics named Bob Nygaard was involved. He was tipped off on them from a woman whose husband had left her for another woman and who then decided consult this psychic and ended up paying her more than $55,000. She became aware of how they took advantage of her during her time of weakness and wanted them to get punished for it so she contacted Nygaard for help.
Nygaard then arranged for an undercover operative to visit the psychic shop run by Tammy Vlado, who goes as “Psychic Gina”, and Pam Ulfie, her daughter-in-law. “Vlado and Ulfie attempted to con the undercover operative into believing that she was being plagued by a ‘curse’ and ‘negativity’ and they attempted to elicit $1,000 from the operative in order to remove the alleged ‘curse/negativity’. Vlado and Ulfie claimed that they needed to burn ten ‘platinum candles’ as part of the alleged ‘curse/negativity’ removal work,” Nygaard said.
Before leaving, the operative was charged $445; $45 for the initial psychic reading and $400 to begin the curse removal process. After the visit was over, Nygaard filed reports against the two scammers, who allegedly violated New York State Penal Law section 165.35 that is ‘fortunetelling’. The Manhattan district attorney’s office and Manhattan police department agreed with Nygaard and pursued the fraudulent psychics. They both surrendered to law enforcement officials without incident.