Psychic Peaches Stevens Scammed Florida Woman Out Of $136,000: Cops
What else is in the teachings of Peaches? Fraud, that's what.
So say Florida cops, who arrested "psychic" Peaches Stevens for allegedly defrauding a woman in Windermere out of $136,000 over seven years, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
Stevens was collared on Jan. 11 and thrown in Orange County Jail after a years-long bid by one of her alleged victims to out the fizzling fortune-teller.
For the victim -- identified during an interview with Anderson Cooper last fall as Priti Mahalanobis -- there were plenty of signs that Stevens wasn't exactly legitimate. First, Stevens allegedly told Mahalanobis to stuff 11 $100 bills and 11 names of relatives on a piece of paper in an envelope under her bed, along with a grapefruit, to quell the evil that Stevens said was wreaking havoc on Mahalanobis's family.
Then, Mahalanobis bought seven tabernacles at $19,000 each at Stevens' behest -- from Stevens -- to "vanquish the negativity, curses and evil spirits that plagued her family," the paper reported.
"Thousands of people get defrauded of millions of dollars each year," Mahalanobis wrote on her Facebook wall last fall. "I want to put an end to this so that nobody else will be victimized by these ruthless con artists again."
Mahalanobis, a college-educated, business-owning mother of two, told the paper that her company was in trouble, her family was having internal problems and she wasn't feeling well when she got a letter in the mail from Stevens. She said she was told to pay thousands of dollars, open credit accounts and hand over some $65,000 in jewelry before she realized that she was the victim of a scam.
The Huffington Post's Weird News team tracked down a self-proclaimed psychic, who gave tips on how to differentiate between a benign clairvoyant and a con artist.
"Grapefruits? Evil spirits in money? It's bull crap," professional medium Tiffany Johnson, a.k.a. Psychic Tiff, told The Huffington Post. "Whenever any lame-ass psychic wants additional funds - 'I'll remove a curse for $5,000, for example' - bells, whistles and red flags should be going off. A real psychic wants to give you tools so that you can make your own life better. They shouldn't want you to buy anything externally, especially from the psychic."
Stevens is free on a $22,000 bond, but is barred from telling fortunes until the case is completed, according to WKMG-Local 6 News.
Here are a few more tips from Psychic Tiff to avoid being the victim of a scam:
- - Use your common sense. If it involves money and it seems fishy, it probably is. If it seems like a mail-order scheme, it probably is.
- - Beware of mind readers who prey on fear, and look for psychics who are positive and guide you on how to empower yourself.
- - Finally, find a psychic with whom you could see yourself being friends with. If they scare you, annoy you or take ridiculous amounts of money from you, they're probably not going to help you.