Five clients have accused a former Randolph, N.J., psychic of defrauding them of more than $330,000 over the past eight years, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office said.
Paula Lee, 36, of Hewlett, was last week at her current business, Psychic Readings by Anna, also in Hewlett.
Lee was charged with the following:
- Theft by deception
- Theft by failure to make required disposition of property received
- Financial facilitation of criminal activity-money laundering
- Failure to pay taxes
- Failure to file a tax return
According to a statement released Thursday by Capt. Jeffrey Paul, a spokesman for Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, an investigation was initially launched in January 2008 when the first victim came forward.
The person gave Lee $76,000 between June 2007 and January 2009 for psychic readings, the prosecutor's office said. However, Lee told the victim the money would be "cleansed" through prayer and be returned to the client, the prosecutor's office said.
A second victim reported in September 2010 giving Lee $160,000 between December 2004 and April 2008 for the cleansing purposes, the prosecutor's office said.
Lee allegedly accepted $78,400, $3,600 and $13,300 to cleanse from three other victims between 2008 and 2011, the prosecutor's office said.
Lee was arrested on June 13 and transported on Tuesday from the Nassau County Correctional Facility and lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of $75,000 cash bail with no 10 percent option.
“This intensive and thorough investigation has led to the arrest of Ms. Lee who is alleged to have fraudulently offered services to unsuspecting and vulnerable persons and failed to deliver the services offered and, had no intention of doing so," Bianchi said in a prepared statement.
"The actions alleged demonstrate a clear and repetitive pattern of fleecing money from numerous victims in violation of state law. The economic impact and emotional turmoil she is alleged to have caused by her illegal actions cannot be understated and I applaud the detectives and attorneys from this office for their efforts.”
Anyone with information should contact the Morris County Prosecutor's Office at 973-285-6200 or the Morris County Sheriff's Office Crime Stopper Program at 973-COP-CALL.