Psychic pleads no contest to defrauding victims

June 11, 2010 7:12:08 PM PDT
A Bay Area psychic who defrauded two clients out of more than $800,000 is heading to prison. As the I-Team revealed last year, she told clients they had been cursed, then took their life savings. She appeared in court Friday to answer felony theft charges and the I-Team learned about the deal she reached with prosecutors.

"Ms. John you are charged in count one with grand theft of personal property," Judge Jerome Nadler said.

Bunny Ann John, aka "Madame Vivian," tried to hide her face behind a napkin as she appeared before a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court Friday.

The district attorney charged the South Bay psychic with two counts of felony grand theft last year after an I-Team investigation revealed how she defrauded clients out of more than $800,000.

Patricia Carpenter lost more than a $120,000.

"I'm disappointed and I'm feeling, you know, foolish and I'm feeling like a big dope and as you will see in those statements, my bank account quickly got emptied out," Carpenter said.

John told her victims they were cursed and that she needed to take their money and other items to be blessed at a Russian Orthodox church.

Deputy District Attorney Cherie Bourlard says that was the claim that helped prosecutors build their case against John.

"In reality, there was no Russian Orthodox church, and so that was the lie that we were able to disprove and hence prove our case of theft by false pretense," Bourlard said.

John pled no contest to both counts of felony grand theft Friday. As part of a plea deal, she will serve two years in state prison and be ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution. Prosecutors are offering John a reduced sentence if she can pay some of the money back before she gets sentenced.

"If she's able to come up with some of the monetary restitution by the time of sentencing in October, we agreed to recommend to the sentencing court that she receive 16 months in prison," Bourlard said.

Have a tip on this or another investigation? E-mail the ABC7 I-Team or call 1-888-40-I-TEAM.


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