Psychic scams woman out of thousands

December 9, 2008 9:17:46 PM PST
A 27-year-old woman who pleaded no contest to swindling a woman out of $108,000 in exchange for cleansing her of evil spirits has been sentenced to 60 days in county jail and ordered to never conduct another psychic reading, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Lisa Miller convinced a woman facing difficult times that she was cursed and required spiritual cleansing, Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard said.

The victim, in her late 30s, responded to an ad placed by Miller offering one-time $10 psychic readings.

Bourlard said victims who seek out such services can be of any age and background and are typically down on their luck in love, money or health.

"It happens more than what is reported because the victims, feeling duped or conned, are feeling too ashamed to come forward," Bourlard said.

The victim in this case returned to Miller for further readings and services, eventually giving Miller $108,000 worth of cash and gift cards in exchange for spiritual cleansing.

Some of the payments were made in exchange for items Miller told the victim would aid in her spiritual cleansing, Bourlard said. For instance, the victim paid $5,000 a piece for urns that would help start the spiritual cleansing process.

"To cleanse the victim's spirits, she had to purchase special urns for $5k, a product she never got," Bourlard said. "(It is) doubtful they even existed."

The victim came forward after Lisa Miller's mother-in-law, Lola Miller, 56, was charged with grand theft in a similar psychic scam. Lisa Miller's 23-year-old sister-in-law, Danielle Miller, allegedly runs similar scams with the women, all described by Bourlard as nomadic predators.

"That's what these people do," Bourlard said. "When it gets too hot to stay, they move to another county and another state."

Lola Miller pleaded guilty to two counts grand theft and is scheduled for sentencing in January, while Danielle Miller is scheduled for a preliminary setting on Thursday.

Lisa Miller pleaded no contest to grand theft, or theft by false pretenses, and was sentenced Friday. Bourlard said the grand theft charge was made because the victim relied upon a lie when making her payments.

"This is a crime designed to financially exploit a victim under the guise of providing assistance," Bourlard said.

In addition to the 60-day county jail sentence and five-year probation, Lisa Miller was ordered to pay restitution to her victim. She has already paid back $61,000 and has been ordered to pay the remainder.

Bourlard said Lisa Miller was ordered to never engage in fortune telling, psychic readings, tarot card readings, love spell castings, palm reading and spiritual advising.


Load Comments