Fla. Psychic Swindled Victim Out of More than $100K, Police Say
(NEW YORK) -- A Florida psychic has put a nasty new spin on the phrase "gambling with fate."
Stephanie Thompson, 23, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., was arrested after she was accused of taking $115,000 from a woman to remove a "curse" -- but instead gambled away some of the money, police said.
Thompson was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with grand theft and organized fraud, more than a year after police first questioned her for swindling a Boca Raton, Fla., woman's money.
The 30-year-old victim told Boca Raton police in September 2012 that Thompson, who has also used the name Stephanie Lee, convinced her to hand over $115,000, of which she would return $90,000, so that she could take a "curse" off of the victim and also off the money. The victim said Thompson told her she had to give her the money, which she had received from her mother, "so she could clean it," according to police.
The victim told police that from May to August of last year, she would go with Thompson to various bank branches to withdraw the cash in small amounts, so as not to raise suspicion, police said. Thompson allegedly told the victim that if she told anyone about the scheme, all of Thompson's work would be "erased," according to police.
"Thompson told her that she could get the same cancer that her mother had if she did not go through with this and [the victim] stated she believed her," Officer Karl Leonard wrote in a Boca Raton police report.
As the victim was telling a police officer her story last year, she received a call from a woman who said she was Thompson, according to the report. The two agreed to meet, and the officer came along, where he confronted Thompson, the report said.
In a CVS parking lot, Thompson told the officer she had gambled away some of the money at a casino, according to the report. In all, the victim said she lost $109,700, police said.
Thompson's attorney, Alison Gilman, told police after an October 2012 meeting with them that "she was unable to resolve this issue," the report states. A warrant was then put out for Thompson's arrest, Officer Sandra Boonenberg, of the Boca Raton Police Department, told ABC News.
Thompson posted $40,000 bond early Wednesday morning, authorities said. A date for her next court hearing had not yet been set, Kathy Burstein, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Clerk and Controller's Office, told ABC News.
Attempts to reach Thompson were unsuccessful. Gilman did not return a message seeking comment.
A message left at a number listed for The Psychic Tea Room, where police said Thompson met the victim, was not returned. The victim did not return a call seeking comment.
"We've had some other reported incidents with psychics and stuff like this, but we don't have any other cases against this particular defendant," Boonenberg said. "I don't believe we have any other psychic-related cases at this point."
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