U.S. Shuts Down Long-Running Psychic Scam With 1 Million Victims

Photo (cc) by cogdogblog

They should have seen it coming — and so should you.

Did you get a letter purportedly from French clairvoyants Maria Duval and Patrick Guerin?

Their decades-long mail-fraud scheme promising personal psychic revelations allegedly bilked $180 million from 1 million Americans, the Justice Department says. While their scheme was shut down, others like it may be active.

The psychics’ letters claimed the pair had specific, personalized visions or psychic readings revealing that recipients could achieve great wealth, including winning millions in the lottery, good luck or an inheritance, officials charged. The psychics’ urged victims to purchase talismans and services to ensure the foreseen good fortune would come to pass.

In reality, officials said, the solicitations were identical, mass-produced form letters sent to tens of thousands of recipients throughout the United States every month. The trinkets were worthless pieces of plastic from China, they told CNN.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says the scam is one of the largest consumer fraud cases the agency has ever handled.

Many who received the solicitations included the desperate, elderly and infirm, they said.

“To line their own pockets, the defendants preyed upon the superstition and desperation of millions of vulnerable Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers for the Eastern District of New York.

Duval and Guerin and six other international defendants agreed to be bound by a permanent injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to resolve a federal civil suit against them. The others are a Canadian company doing business as Infogest Direct Marketing; Infogest employees Mary Thanos, Daniel Sousse and Philip Lett, all of Quebec, Canada; Hong Kong corporation Destiny Research Center Ltd.; and Destiny Research Center President Martin Dettling of Zurich, Switzerland.

Though they settled the charges, none of the defendants have admitted to any wrongdoing. Duval has claimed she lost control of her name and image, CNN reported.

Have you received offers of good fortune? Share your experiences in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How to Avoid Being Surprised by 7 Nasty Expenses
How to Avoid Being Surprised by 7 Nasty Expenses

Major expenses are difficult to predict, but there are ways to make sure you’re protected.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score
7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score

A seemingly small stumble can cause your credit score to plummet.

How Much of My Social Security Can My Ex Take?
How Much of My Social Security Can My Ex Take?

A man wonders if his ex-wife will siphon away his Social Security benefit.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

Will Stimulus Checks Increase Your Social Security Taxes?
Will Stimulus Checks Increase Your Social Security Taxes?

Could all those “free” checks prove costly down the road?

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.