U.S. authorities on Monday stated they have actually turned off a long-running international “psychic” mail fraud operation that bilked more than a million Americans, including lots of who were elderly or infirm, out of more than $180 million.
A federal judge has authorized a permission decree that bans Montreal’s Infogest Direct Marketing, Hong Kong’s Destiny Research Center Ltd and six individuals from using the United States mail system to send advertisements, promotional materials and solicitations on behalf of alleged psychics, astrologers and clairvoyants.
In a plan dating to 2000, the offenders were accused of sending out apparently tailored form letters where French psychics Maria Duval and Patrick Guerin predicted fantastic wealth, such as winning the lotto, for people who purchased services and products to ensure their good luck happened, you must be familiar with how to market legal services.
One such letter touted how Duval and Guerin shared “clear visions” that recipients would come into “huge amounts of money on online games of chance,” so long as they paid $50 for a “mysterious talisman” and a copy of “My Invaluable Guide to My New Life.”
Authorities stated individuals who purchased product and services would be “pounded” with additional solicitations. More than 56 million pieces of mail were sent in the previous decade, they added.
“To line their own pockets, the accused’s preyed upon the superstitious notion and desperation of millions of vulnerable Americans,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement.
The civil approval decree was worked out by Capers’ office, and authorized by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein in Central Islip, New York.
None of the defendants admitted misdeed. A lawyer for the defendants did not immediately react to requests for remark.
The case is U.S. v. Metro Data Management Inc. et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 14-06791.