As we've noted many, many, many, many, many, many times before, fortune tellers and "psychics" are garbage entertainers who prey on the weakness of the gullible and vulnerable for financial gain. And it turns out that several of the most infamous "psychics" in the city have come out and admitted as much.
Michael Wilson, who reported earlier this summer on the lovelorn East Williamsburg resident who was allegedly fleeced out of $713,975 by a Midtown psychic, got transcripts of statements made by several convicted psychics to parole boards while they were seeking an early release from prison. And across the board, they all seem in agreement that they were engaged in professional swindling.
That includes Celia Mitchell, who was was arrested and convicted of grand larceny for bilking clients out of nearly $160K. As Wilson writes in the Times:
“It was just going by what they would give you,” she said. “It’s all a scam. It’s by their demeanor. I want to write a book about how Gypsies scam people out of their money.”
“You don’t think there’s any legitimate psychics out there?” she was asked.
“If they are taking your money,” she said, “they are not for real.”
There's Greenwich Village "psychic" Sylvia Mitchell, who was sentenced to five to 15 years for swindling clients out of over $138K. "I regret it,” she said at one parole meeting. "I’m sorry. I regret it and I have no explanation for it; that is just corruption. I look back at it and I can’t believe that I did all these things."
Then there's Betty Vlado, who conned three victims out of $55,000 by telling them they had black auras that needed to be cleansed.
Another psychic convicted of grand larceny, Betty Vlado, 46, called herself a Gypsy and said she started out reading tarot cards.
“Was it useless?” a commissioner asked at her 2014 parole hearing.
“Yes, pretty much.”
Ms. Vlado was asked: “Are you pretty much just telling a story, basically lying? Just making stuff up?”
Three friends entered her shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 2011. Ms. Vlado recalled one of them in particular. “She was telling me her problems, and I pretty much took advantage of that,” she said.
“Do you consider yourself a good liar?”