Social Security Administration is latest to go after Lafayette psychic

Gannett JC Online/April 12, 2011

By Sophia Voranong

A Lafayette woman who claims to be a "master clairvoyant" and offered psychic readings out of her homes on South and Main streets is being investigated for allegations of welfare fraud and theft, court documents reveal.

Judge Randy Williams of Tippecanoe Superior Court 1 signed off on a search warrant Friday that allowed investigators to further look into Patricia Johns and her business, Astrology Gallery.

The warrant was requested by a special agent with the Social Security Administration's Chicago Field Division, Indianapolis office.

According to a probable cause affidavit included in the warrant request, Johns has received supplemental security income benefits since 2001 for affective disorders.

She's accused of never reporting employment with or income from Astrology Gallery.

Johns' telephone listing for her psychic services went straight to a recorded message on Monday, and a message could not be left because the voicemail box was full.

Her website,, also was down on Monday.

According to a Twitter account that reportedly belongs to Johns, @FREE_psychic, she posted on March 22 that she is now in Dallas and available for readings there.

Here's what prompted the Social Security Administration investigation, according to the affidavit:

The special agent read a story in February by Indianapolis television news station WTHR about Johns and former clients who believed they had been scammed by her services.

The four victims -- three in Lafayette and one in Frankfort -- paid Johns a combined $181,432 in goods and money. The "goods" included a Rolex watch and crystals.

The special agent then contacted Lafayette police and decided to check Johns' name in the Social Security Administration database, which showed that she has received $67,012 in supplemental security income benefits since November 2001.

Supplemental security income is for qualifying people who are aged, blind or disabled and have little to no income or resources. They must not be able to work because of physical or mental impairment for 12 months or longer. It is separate from Social Security benefits, which are funded through payroll taxes.

Johns' benefits likely would have decreased, or dropped, had income from Astrology Gallery been reported.

The search warrant allows investigators to access Johns' bank accounts and tax returns, among other suspected evidence.

The city of Lafayette in February issued Johns a cease-and-desist letter for Astrology Gallery based on a little-known city code that bans fortunetellers and clairvoyants from profiting off those services.

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