Fraud in the News

 

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A jury convicted Fort Lauderdale “psychic” Rose Marks of 14 federal counts of fraud and money-laundering conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and filing false income tax returns. She defrauded her clients of $25 million, including romance novelist Jude Deveraux, who gave Marks nearly $7 million of the almost $9 million Deveraux earned between 2004 and 2007. Marks used the money to buy a waterfront home, gamble and lease Ferraris, a Bentley and a Range Rover. She promised to “cleanse money” and then return it, but then she told some clients that the money had burned during 9/11. (“Jury finds Lauderdale ‘psychic’ guilty of defrauding clients of $25 million,” by Paula McMahon, September 25, Sun Sentinel)

According to a related article, “Prosecution: ‘Psychic’ blew money at casinos, on fancy cars and waterfront home” (Sun Sentinel, Sept. 19), McMahon wrote, “Deveraux testified that she stopped paying her own taxes for years because Marks told her she didn’t need to because, the psychic assured her, Deveraux would die and Marks would transfer her spirit into another woman’s body.”
 

 

‘The mess that greed has caused’  


Levi Phillips, director of maintenance for Carson Helicopter Inc., pleaded guilty to a fraud charge in relation to a 2008 helicopter crash that killed nine people — seven of whom were firefighters battling a forest fire. He admitted to lying to the U.S. Forest Service “by falsifying information about the weight, balance and performance of four firefighting helicopters, including the Sikorsky S-61N that clipped a tree and crashed in August 2008,” according to the Sept. 24 Mail Tribune article, “Official admits fraud in copter crash case,” by Sanne Specht.  

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that the helicopter weighed more than 19,000 pounds, which far exceeded the Forest Service guidelines of a maximum weight of 15,840. The company lied to obtain $20 million in contracts. Nina Charlson’s son died in the crash, and according to the article, she said, “Our one big hope is that this changes things. We don’t want history to repeat itself — the mess that greed has caused.” 


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