34-year-old Michael Marks pleaded guilty to a single criminal charge earlier this week. Michael is part of the infamous Marks’ family of fortune-tellers charged with running a multimillion-dollar scam. Michael and eight other family members from Broward County were all under investigation for several fraud claims from their customers.
He had a lone charge separate from his family members on which he pleaded guilty and reached a plea agreement. He confessed that he did have a role in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy. That incident happened in the early 2000s in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Rose Marks is the mother of the Marks family of fortune-tellers accused and is the one that began this intricate scheme.
In August 2011, authorities arrested nine family members for allegedly swindling about $40 million from their customers. $20 million came from Jude Deveraux, a very successful and well-known author. The Marks family scammed and stole from her with no remorse. 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 deciding to take the case back to a federal grand jury. They hope to alter the allegations and charges, and this request will be the third time for charges to be modified since prosecutors filed the case. Michael and his wife Cynthia used to operate a psychic business on Sunrise Boulevard in Manhattan called Astrology Life Inc. He was its president, and his wife worked with him.
Michael Couldn’t Fight The Accusations
On Wednesday, Michael pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court. He confessed to having received cash and gold coins from their customers scammed by the rest of his family. He even received gold coins valued at $107,000 from a single unsuspecting victim in 2010. According to court records, they fooled the customers into thinking they received genuine psychic and tarot card readings.
The females in the family would tell the customers they had curses on them and claim they could remove the curses in exchange for valuables. The Marks received cash, jewelry, and anything else of value from them to perform rituals and cleansing. They promised their victims to return their money and valuables once they removed the curse. Of course, the victims 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, Fred Schwartz, revealed that the court granted Marks’ plea agreement request because he and Cynthia have young children. “He wanted to be sure that in the unlikely event 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 mentioned testifying against his family members. His sentencing will take place in February, and there is a possibility that he will face up to six months in prison.