Psychic and Fortune
Fortune teller accused in $220,000 scam in Seattle arrested
10/07 - A 77-year-old fortune teller on the run for eight
years after she was accused of scamming a despondent Seattle
woman out of $220,000 was arrested in Calgary this week.
Calgary officials said Sophie Evon will be extradited to
Seattle within a week to face charges that she stole the
money in 1999 from a 26-year-old woman sad from a breakup
with her boyfriend.
At the time, prosecutors said Evon and her daughter-in-law
ran a psychic parlor in North Seattle when they offered to
cleanse some evil spirits for the woman. They prayed, lit
candles, burned leaves and persuaded the woman to buy $4,500
in gold coins to repel bad spirits.
They manipulated the victim into tapping her elderly parents'
life savings, then vanished with the money, prosecutors said.
In 2003, Evon eluded Toronto police, when they were about
to nab her at a psychic parlor as she was running out the
back, according to Canadian news reports.
Evon's daughter-in-law, Sylvia Lee, was sentenced to 18
months in 2001, after police arrested her in Toronto. They
found her through her common-law husband's Rolls Royce.
SeattlePI.com - Vanessa Ho
Follow-up story by Tracy Johnson.
Fortuneteller gets 1 1/2 years in jail after she bilked
brokenhearted woman out of $220,000
04/08 - The 26-year-old woman was so heartbroken over a
breakup with her boyfriend that she trusted two Seattle fortunetellers
to help her win him back.
Sophie Evon and her daughter-in-law, both self-proclaimed
Gypsies, lit candles, burned leaves and convinced the woman
that they could break the spell that had supposedly been
cast on her ex.
They just needed to borrow her savings so that they could
pray over it.
"Through the whole thing, I always had doubts," the
woman told a King County judge on Friday. "I thought
(Evon) cared about me. ... She was good at sensing my doubts
and re-establishing my trust throughout the whole process."
Evon, 79, was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison Friday
for swindling the woman out of almost $220,000 -- much of
it taken from her elderly parents' retirement savings.
The elaborate scam took place in 1999, but Evon ran away
with the cash and lived on the run.
The victim, who asked not to be identified, remains overwhelmed
with guilt and hasn't been able to tell her parents what
happened. She said they live in China and don't know the
money is gone.
Through tears, she told Superior Court Judge Nicole MacInnes
that she is still afraid to trust people and fearful that
everyone will think "what a stupid person I was at that
Evon declined to say anything in court. Led into the courtroom
by two guards, the winded woman coughed incessantly as her
attorney, Edward Becker, said she felt bad about what she
Becker said Evon, who pleaded guilty last month to three
first-degree theft charges, had put $5,000 toward paying
the woman back and was making efforts toward giving her an
But Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson said the crime was "a
very orchestrated psychological ploy that they used ... to
gain her trust." He said the women even worked out a "good
cop-bad cop" routine to break down her resistance.
MacInnes said Evon had taken no responsibility as she imposed
the 1 1/2-year sentence prosecutors recommended instead of
the standard three- to 9-month jail term Evon faced.
Evon, who has apparently never had any formal education,
was caught in Canada a few years after disappearing with
She faked stroke symptoms in an unsuccessful effort to be
found mentally unfit and then escaped again, according to
She was arrested again in October in Calgary, Alberta.
Her daughter-in-law and partner in crime, Sylvia Lee, received
an 18-month sentence in 2001.
Gypsy Psychic Scammers are a Curse on Victims
07/06 - COVINGTON, La. (AP) - A palm reader and self-proclaimed
psychic has been put on probation for a year for trying to
scam a Slidell business owner out of five-thousand dollars
in July 2004.
Lecia Urich, of Kenner, who pleaded guilty to attempted theft of more
than 500 dollars, had told the woman that a ritual during which money
was buried would help lift a deadly curse.
Urich, who goes by the name "Sister Jackson," also
was fined 250 dollars by State District Judge Reginal Badeau.
Authorities say the Slidell woman was not the only victim.
Kenner police said Urich told four customers that their
enemies had put curses on them and offered to dispel the
hexes for a total of seven-thousand-100 dollars, which she
said she would bury in a church or cemetery.
That Love Bug is Possessed
03/20/02 - Two self-described psychics, Sonia Merino, 50 and her
daughter-in-law, Nasta Merino, 23 were arrested and charged with
five counts each of mail fraud for allegedly conning clients into
paying thousands of dollars in fees to free them from bad karma.
The pair advertised in a South Bay newspaper mailer, offering
psychic readings for as little as $10 but would then tell clients
that additional sessions, ranging up to $20,000, were needed to
drive away a curse or some negative spiritual force.
One client told investigators that he gave Sonia Merino more than
$518,000 in checks, a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle, a CD player and a
personal computer over a three-year period after first going to
her for a tarot card reading in 1996 after a failed romance.
He says Sonia told him he needed a series of costlier sessions
including a request for $750,000 to pay a group of psychics to
conduct all-night meditations on his behalf. One victim was quoted
in the affidavit as saying that Sonia Merino threatened to put
a curse on her when she refused to pay several thousand dollars
for a series of sessions. Another told of being badgered with phone
calls every few hours throughout the night.
Sonia Merino also sold clients what she described as "holy
water" from the Vatican but analysis showed it was Manhattan
Beach tap water, authorities said. Nasta Merino was accused of
selling at least one person "holy water" from Ste.-Anne-de-Beaupre,
a Catholic shrine near Quebec City, Canada, which is frequented
by invalids seeking miracle cures. It, too, came from a local tap.
In addition to mail fraud, Sonia and her husband Steve, 44, were
charged with tax fraud for allegedly underreporting $750,000 in
income from 1995 through 1999.
Fortune Teller Psychic Scammers