Retired Boynton Beach teacher says psychic put her in a trance and took her for $150,000

NBC News Channel 5 WPTV, Florida/August 29, 2013

By Brian Entin

Boca Raton, Florida -- A retired Boynton Beach teacher says she was taken for $150,000 by a Boca Raton psychic.

The woman, who only wanted to use her first name, says after her father passed away she was vulnerable and saw the sign for the psychic while she was driving.

"I thought... let me just stop there and see, maybe someone can give me some advice," Michelle said.

But after a few visits the woman, who taught elementary school for over forty years, says the psychic started using fear tactics.

"He said that my dad, who passed away, was in purgatory and that he has done something very bad and we have to get him out," Michelle said.

That's when Michelle says the psychic demanded cash to save her dad.

"He said we need money and we also need a watch. He said we're going to travel west on Glades Road," Michelle said.

Michelle says the psychic took her to Boca Town Center Mall and to Mayor's Jewelry Store.

"He said we have to get a Rolex watch because your dad liked nice things and we're going to use this watch for sacrifice. I said 'what are you going to do with the watch?' He said 'I'm either going to take a hammer to it, or throw it in the ocean,' " Michelle recalled.

According to police reports, she spent $28,000 to buy the watch. Reports say the psychic later sold it at a Deerfield Beach Pawn Shop.

"I put all of my trust in him, which to this day I don't know why," Michelle said.

She says the psychic continued to scam her, even convincing her she had cervical cancer and the only way to get healthy was to continue giving him cash.

After she says she lost nearly $150,000 she hired Boca Raton private investigator Bob Nygaard and went to Boca police.

"They think... 'well no one put a gun to your head.' They don't think of theft by false promise or theft by false pretenses and as a result the crime is not taken seriously," Nygaard said.

The psychic shop is no longer open and the building is now vacant.

According to Boca Raton police reports, the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office determined it was impossible to show criminal intent because they say Michelle knew everything she was giving was never going to be returned.

"I just feel like I was put into a trance. Every time I hear him say money is the root of all evil, it just did something to me in my head," Michelle says.

She and Nygaard fully believe a crime was committed and have a meeting scheduled with Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg in September. They hope he will reconsider prosecuting the psychic.

The psychic is not being named because he has not been charged. No one returned messages left on his cell phone.

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