Arlington Heights woman charged with psychic-services scam

Chicago Tribune/December 19, 2008

An Arlington Heights woman who posed as a fortuneteller fleeced victims out of tens of thousands of dollars by promising to drive away evil spirits, authorities said Thursday.

Gina Reed, 35, was charged with one count of felony theft by deception for cheating one victim out of $10,000 in August 2007.

But Chicago police said Thursday that Reed is suspected of victimizing four others out of an additional $98,000.

Reed promised to return the money after she had driven off the evil spirits, police said, but the victims returned to her Far Northwest Side home and found a for-rent sign in the front yard. "This caused severe hardship and distress to the victims both financially and mentally," Chicago police said.

Detectives have learned of numerous additional victims as well, police said.

A Cook County judge set bail Thursday at $1,000 for Reed, who now lives in the 500 block of South Arlington Heights Road in the northwest suburb, police said.

Reed called her business Eastern European Travelers and distributed fliers claiming she had made appearances on television, police said.

Reed is accused of operating out of two other locations: the 1800 block of North Clybourn Avenue in Chicago and on East Northwest Highway in Arlington Heights.

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