Ex-Randolph psychic accused of theft

Prosecutor's Office: $324,000 was stolen from 5 people, 'church' was to benefit

Daily Record, New Jersey/June 20, 2012

A psychic who was sued by a former client who said she was bilked out of jewelry and $150,000 has been charged in Morris County with stealing $324,650 from five people and failing to pay income taxes for five years.

Defendant Paula Lee, also known as Pauline Lee, was held Tuesday in lieu of $75,000 bail in the Morris County Jail on charges of stealing $324,650 from five people between 2004 and 2010.

Lee, now 36 and living in Hewlett, N.Y., got the victims to give her money to invest in a "church" but claimed the funds would be returned to them, according to complaints signed by Morris County Prosecutor's Office Detective Barry Bittenmaster.

Lee for years operated a psychic, or fortune-telling shop, in Randolph but moved in 2010, about the time that one of the victims in the criminal case sued her for fraud.

The criminal complaints allege that Lee, between 2004 and 2010, stole amounts that ranged between $3,600 and $149,550 from victims in Randolph and Denville, with the promise the money would be placed in a church. The complaints also charge Lee with failing to pay income taxes between from 2007 to 2011.

Karen Brown, the person claiming the greatest theft from Lee, sued in state Superior Court, Morristown, in 2010, alleging that Lee exploited her depression and made her believe she would die without her assistance.

Brown had seen her sign for psychic services in Randolph and went to her for help coping with her marriage and depression, the suit said.

Lee used her "psychic powers" to convince Brown she was under a curse and "dark forces were obstructing her efforts to find happiness," the lawsuit alleged.

Lee also convinced Brown to give her money that she promised to return and borrowed her credit card to buy an $11,000 ring and a miniature scale model of a church that cost $12,000.

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