A South Florida psychic took $100,000 from a grieving woman, purportedly to cleanse the cash of a family curse, but ended up losing the money gambling at a casino, police said.
The victim, a 30-year-old Boca Raton woman, had inherited the money from her late mother, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
She was convinced that the $100,000 needed to be cleansed in rituals that involved meditation and a Miami priest, and once the curse was lifted, she could have most of the money back, the newspaper reported.
But now it’s gone, and Stephanie Thompson, 23, of Lighthouse Point faces charges of first-degree grand larceny and felony fraud, online Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records said. She was arrested Tuesday and released from jail early Wednesday on $40,000 bond.
"There was this feeling of guilt that this money that my dead mother left me is gone," the victim told the Sun Sentinel. "I'm embarrassed; I'm angry. I definitely feel angry more at myself because I know that it's not an unknown thing that there's psychic frauds out there – especially in Florida."
Thompson worked at the Psychic Boutique on North Federal Highway in Boca Raton, which the victim came across in while on a lunch break in May 2012, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Her mother had recently died after a battle with ovarian cancer and she’d had a breakup in short order, so the woman went in for what she thought would be a $50 reading.
But Thompson told the woman she needed to pay $2,000 for meditation to learn the cause of the “negative energy” she sensed, and that figure increased to more than $20,000 after the psychic said she’d discovered the victim was cursed, according to a Boca Raton Police report.
The victim – whose father died unexpectedly when she was a teenager – believed the fortune teller, who also told her that she could get cancer if she didn’t proceed with the rituals, the report said.
The victim eventually gave Thompson a total of about $110,000 before she told herself to “stop being stupid,” the Sun Sentinel reported.
In July 2012 she asked Thompson to return the money she’d promised to give back, but Thompson kept making excuses, according to the police report.
The victim turned to police in September 2012, and as she was with talking with an officer, Thompson called and promised she could give her about $75,000 of the $100,00 she owed her, the police report said. But when the two women and the officer met, Thompson admitted that she had lost the money at a casino, according to police.
The Sun Sentinel’s efforts to reach Thompson, her attorney and the owner of Psychic Boutique were unsuccessful.
More on NBC6.com:
- PHOTOS: Sinkhole in Dunedin
- Man Impersonates Cop, Demands Discount for Doughnuts: Deputies
- WATCH: Woman Casually Rides Train with Alligator
- Calif. Craigslist Ad: "Ghost Town with Liquor License"
- PHOTOS: Rock Stars Then and Now