Criminal Justice

Fortune-teller accused of bilking $17M from best-selling romance novelist

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in the criminal trial of a claimed psychic who is facing a 35-count indictment over fortune-telling activities that allegedly fleeced a best-selling romance novelist of $17 million over a 20-year period.

While fortune-telling, in and of itself, is not illegal, federal prosecutors contend that Rose Marks, 62, masterminded a $25 million fraud that involved false promises and failing to return money as agreed, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. There are also allegations that Marks failed to report all of her taxable income from storefront operations she and other family members ran in upscale areas of New York City and Broward County, Fla.

The star witness in the West Palm Beach case is expected to be Jude Deveraux, a romance novelist who has written over 35 books that made the New York Times bestseller list. The feds say she, like other victims, was financially manipulated. Deveraux allegedly lost $17 million over a 20-year period, but Marks says she legitimately earned the money by serving as the author’s personal assistant and helping her write her books. That claim is supported by the fact that the author’s accountant listed money paid to Marks as business expenses on tax returns, the article says.

A lawyer for Marks says she believed she was helping her clients, and two federal magistrate judges have criticized the government for investigative tactics used in the case.

See also:

The Pulp (Broward/Palm Beach New Times): “Rose Marks, Fortuneteller Accused of $25 Million Fraud, Goes to Trial Today”

South Florida Business Journal: “Fort Lauderdale fortuneteller trial starts Monday”

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