Florida Fortune Teller Accused Of $25 Million Fraud

Rose Marks was one of the most successful fortune tellers, with a major celebrity who paid her $17 million alone.

South Florida Sun Sentinel
You wouldn't be alone if you had doubts about the work of fortune tellers. But criminal trials of psychics for fraud is in fact quite rare.

And so it was remarkable that on Monday, fortune teller Rose Marks, pictured, second from right, found herself on trial for allegedly organizing an elaborate $25 million fraud in which clientele gave her millions in "gifts" and loans, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Marks, 62, was no ordinary $20 palm reader either. With her family members, she operated shops in Fort Lauderdale and New York City and had an impressive client list, including Jude Deveraux, the 65-year old romance novelist and author of 37 New York Times best-sellers.

Deveraux has said she alone lost $20 million and that Marks, who calls herself a spiritual advisor and clairvoyant, preyed on Deveraux's problems, including the death of her son, and difficulty having children, according to ABC News.

In speaking to ABC News, Marks's attorney Fred Schwartz says his client claims psychic powers have run in her family for over 1,500 years. Marks adamantly has denied the charges. "I gave my life to these people. We're talking about clients of 20 years, 30 years, 40 years. We're not talking about someone I just met and took all their money and ran off," she said, claiming she helped Deveraux write some of her novels. "I was her inspiration and gave her insight on Romani mysticism." Marks said she charged her $1 million a year in exchange for giving up her other clients to focus on Deveraux.

According to authorities, Marks and her relatives instructed clients that they needed to make "sacrifices" in the form of payments so their problems could be resolved. Clients were also told they needed to lend the seers money and jewelry so their objects could be used in rituals, even though the clients say their personal property was never returned, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's office.

In the U.S. Attorney's complaint, Marks and her fellow seers were depicted as seeking out "emotionally vulnerable, fragile ... or gullible" clients. And once they had their clients, Marks and her fellow fortune tellers employed a number of tactics, according to the complaint:
  • Telling clients "curses" had been hurting their families for centuries, sometimes because their ancestors were witches;
  • Instructing clients they had to get rid of their money because it was "the root of all evil;"
  • Refusing to refund payments of gold coins when promises like stopping voices inside a client's head went unfulfilled because only "Michael the Archangel" knew where the coins were located.

The government's investigation has been riddled with problems. Schwartz, Marks's lawyer, has accused the investigators of approaching former clients of Marks to tell them they'd been cheated, and if they helped the lawsuit, they could get their money back. Finally, one client who was originally listed as a "victim" by the government filed a sworn affidavit saying he had not been cheated, but was in fact a satisfied client, as ABC reported.

Marks's family members have all agreed to plea bargains for lesser charges. But in speaking to the Sun Sentinel at the opening of the trial earlier this week, Schwartz defended Marks. He said his client is the victim of racial bias because of her Roma background. And he says Marks's former clients are just suffering from "buyer's remorse."

Seeking advice from a fortune teller is a huge phenomenon in America; one out of seven Americans said they have visited a fortune teller or psychic in their lives in a landmark Pew Study from 2009. And there's a lot of money at stake; fortune tellers can "easily" make $200,000 to $300,000 a year, as Gregory Ovanessian, former San Francisco police detective and director of the National Association Association of Bunco Investigators, which focuses on non-traditional organized crime, recently told the Broward Palm Beach New Times.

Correction: This post previously said that there were no laws against fortune tellers. That was an error. Some localities, including New York state, do have bans on the books against fortune telling.

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Laura D. Miller

I'm surprised this hasn't gone higher as against our Freedom of Religion...the ghost that's haunting me just put CAPS LOCK on when he knows I don't like it...a psychic/fortune teller saw him with me.

June 02 2015 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i think she murdered or had someone murdered to collect inheritance...

January 04 2015 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In my opinion if you are willingly handing over your wealth to a psychic, be it jewelry, cash money, or other valuables you should not then be able to claim fraud after years of doing so. These people claiming they have been defrauded have absolutely no one other than themselves to blame for it. The only people who should be allowed to claim fraud after dropping money on complete nonsense like psychics should be those who haven't the mental capacity to know better and none of these people seem to fall under that type. Such acts of sheer stupidity should not be rewarded with a court ordered settlement and unless this women forcefully made them give her money it's their own ignorant and foolish fault, no one elses.

October 30 2013 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you trisha you are so right.Stand on a soap box start qouting from the bible And you will have a crowd of suckers followin you every time.

August 31 2013 at 6:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trisha Lynn Dragon

Shame. She should have registered as a church.

All the money, none of the taxes and it's all legit. Talk about Jeebus, Moses, Allah or what have you, and you're a nice wholesome legal organization free to keep yo' dollah dollah bill's and no fear of jail time.

Added bonus? The sheep arrive at your doorstep BEGGING to be sheared!!

August 31 2013 at 5:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alexis Elizabeth

People are so stupid to believe in psychics so when they get duped and lose most of their money and other valuable property i don't feel abit sorry for them.

August 31 2013 at 3:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Its about one of these frauds got what they deserved, bet she didn't see this coming

August 31 2013 at 1:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There all frauds, I mean who would believe the crap they spew out. On the other hand, a fool and his money are soon parted, so I guess who ever paid her money got what they deserved. People can be so simple minded sometimes.

August 31 2013 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Lutz


August 31 2013 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great! Now they tell me.

August 31 2013 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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