Criminal Justice

2 charged in psychic scam; police say lawyer was swindled out of $1.5M

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A California lawyer who responded to a flyer for psychic readings was swindled out of $1.5 million by scammers who said she had to pay them to clear her chakras and eliminate her bad karma, police say.

Two people have been charged in Las Vegas in the monthslong scam, and a criminal complaint is pending against a third, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Sherry Marks, 52, and David Marks, 48, are charged with conspiracy, extortion and four counts of obtaining money under false pretenses.

Prosecutors were given until early June to file a criminal complaint against the third person, Peaches Marks. But Sherry and David Marks are due back in Las Vegas Justice Court later this month, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The scam allegedly began more than a year ago, when the lawyer was charged $1,500 for a “chakra clearing,” the article reports. She was told “her chakras were off balance.” By May 2018, she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash alone, according to the story.

After that, the scammers allegedly persuaded the lawyer to finance a trip to New Orleans for David Marks and his girlfriend, Rita Stevens, who has not been charged in the case; pay for two BMWs; make cash payments; and turn over her credit card to Sherry Marks, according to a police report cited by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Using the name Paula Williams, Sherry Marks allegedly told the lawyer that her life was in jeopardy and she had to continue cash payments. If the money stopped flowing, Marks allegedly had said, all their work would have been done for nothing.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal identified the victim as a workers’ compensation lawyer in California. She also has a home in Summerlin, Nevada.

Betsy Allen, a lawyer for David Marks, said she couldn’t comment on the case; and Kenneth Frizzell, a lawyer for Sherry Marks, also declined to comment. The victim did not immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s request for comment.

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