Psychic from Randolph agrees to pay back $120,000

Daily Record, New Jersey/December 20, 2013

By Peggy Wright

A former Randolph-based psychic accused of bilking five clients out of $324,650 was accepted Thursday into a probation program without admitting any criminal wrongdoing but agreed to pay $120,000 in restitution and never operate a business in New Jersey again.

Paula Lee, now 37 and living in Hewlett, N.Y., was accepted by Superior Court Judge Robert Gilson in Morristown into Morris County’s Pre-Trial Intervention program for first-time offenders.

Defense lawyer George Abdy said that he and county Assistant Prosecutor Sahil Kabse negotiated an agreement under which Lee will pay $120,000 in restitution to five people who alleged she exploited them into giving her money between 2004 and 2010. Abdy said that Lee, who also uses the name Pauline Lee, personally has no funds but is receiving help from relatives and friends to pay the $120,000.

Lee had been charged with multiple counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of money received, and the original tally was $324,650. The PTI order calls for Lee to be supervised for one year and pay restitution. The order does not bar ex-clients from seeking more money through lawsuits. Lee did not have to admit to any crimes and if she satisfactorily completes PTI, the charges will be dismissed and she will not have a criminal record.

“We got the case to a point where it was favorable and enough to make the victims happy. It was a defensible case but would have been very expensive. These were people who went to Paula over a period of years, not just for one sitting,” Abdy said.

The former fortune-teller got the attention of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office after one woman sued in 2010, alleging that Lee exploited her depression and made her believe she would die without her help. Others complained to the prosecutor’s office about Lee and she was charged in 2012.

She was accused of getting victims to give her money to invest in a “church” but claimed the funds would be returned to them. The victim who claimed the largest monetary loss told authorities that she sought help from Lee to cope with her rocky marriage and depression. She said that Lee used her “psychic powers” to convince her she was cursed and that “dark forces were obstructing her efforts to find happiness.”

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