|Sorry, you get no points for saying
"They were psychics – they should have seen it coming."
Celia Marks called herself a Gypsy – or more accurately, a descendent of Roma – who read palms and tarot cards in the 1940s. Her children and grandchildren continued in the family business.
In 1982, when her son Steven Marks tried to open a fortune-telling shop in Hampton Roads, Virginia, he was denied a permit. He went to court and won, and that side of the family opened three psychic shops.
In 2005, three members of the family were convicted of scamming $1 million from clients.
Now a federal indictment charges that Steven and others conspired to scam $16 million from life insurance companies.
It’s alleged they took out multiple insurance policies for old and sick family members and had healthy imposters take the physical exams. When one brother died in 2005, they received $800,000. Authorities claim they scammed more than $3.5 million, and 81 insurance policies are fraudulent.
As evidence, the Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service have hours of taped phone conversations.
So far, their defense has been that they are practically illiterate and can barely read and write.