Ten defendants that claimed to be clairvoyants, spiritual advisers and fortune tellers were charged August 16, 2011 in an indictment and further investigation titled, “Operation Crystal Ball.” The indictment and investigation focuses on the fraud committed by a group of individuals (most of which are related) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida claiming to have supernatural powers. These fraudsters repeatedly told callers that “money is the root of all evil” and by them handing over large sums of money they would rid them of their problems.
Over the last 20 years victims lost more than $40 million to this group.
The following have been charged in this case:
- Rose Marks (a/k/a Joyce Michael)
- Nancy Marks (a/k/a Nancy Michael)
- Cynthia Miller (a/k/a Cynthia Marks)
- Rosie Marks
- Victoria Eli
- Vivian Marks
- Ricky Marks
- Michael Marks
- Donnie Eli
- Peter Wolofsky
The 61-count indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1349), substantive counts of mail fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341), substantive counts of wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343), and money laundering conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 1956). Each count carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, if convicted. In addition, if convicted, the defendants will have to pay mandatory restitution to the victims of their crimes. – Source.
Apparently these ‘higher power’ fraudsters promised their victims the removal of curses and evil spirits from them and their loved ones. They allegedly guilted their customers into giving them “large sums of money and other valuables, including jewelry and gold coins, to be “cleansed” of the evil spirits” – Source. If money and goods were not handed over then they told victims they would face terrible consequences in their life regarding to health, finances and even hauntings.
One of the most shocking scams I came across while reading the indictment was a conspiracy reported about the unnamed victim by the initials of S.K:
“Defendant Cynthia Millers would tell S.L. that she could help him with his problems, as S.K. was hearing voices in his head cause by an unusual amount of stress in his life. Defendant Cynthia Miller would advise S.K. that her gift would have a spiritual translation, meaning that she would speak to Michael the Archangel would tell her what he wanted S.K. to do. Defendant Cynthia Miller would advise S.K. that Michael the Archangel wanted him to make some sacrifices. The sacrifice called for 32 gold coins because S.K. was 32 years old and Defendant Cynthia Miller needed a gold coin for each year S.K. did not have faith. S.K. would give Defendant Cynthia Miller gold coins valued at approximately $400,000. When S.K. stated the voices in his head would not stop, he asked for the coins back. Defendant Cynthia Miller would state that the gold coins were in the cemetery with Michael the Archangel and she could not remember where the gold coins were, only Michael the Archangel would know. The gold coins were never returned.” – Source.
This family of fraudsters would reportedly tell callers that “money is the root of all evil,” and told them to hand it over to them. How kind and considerate of them to take this “evil” off their callers’ hands, right? With said “evil” the family acquired a home, yacht, $1.8 million in gold coins and 14 cars including a Mercedes Benz, BMW, Rolls Royce, Bentley and two Harley Davidson motorcycles. Way to take one for the team. – Source.
After searching the address of the home listed in the indictment I found a couple of photos of their “humble abode” from the relator listing, which can be seen below.
Little did this family know but the bible verse “money is the root of all evil” they so often spewed out of their mouth is often misquoted. For you see it is in fact, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Ironic, no?
You can read the full Superseding Indictment here.
If you have been scammed and would like to file a scam report, please click here.