A repeat offender.
Clairvoyant scammer Sylvia Mitchell, 38, who has run her con game in NYC, Connecticut and Florida, was busted once again today for swindling a woman out of more than $120,000, police sources said.
From Oct. 2007 to April 2009, Mitchell promised that she would rid Singapore-native Lee Choong, 40, of her “bad spirits” during fortune telling sessions at her Greenwich Village shop, Psychic Zena, sources said.
But, instead of “cleansing” Choong, Mitchell actually wiped her out financially, stealing $128,000 in return for her bogus advice, sources said.
This is a common ploy. These scammers prey on people who are prone to believing in superstition – spirits, curses, bad karma, etc. – and take their valuables on the promise that they will remove whatever stigma is attached. It’s odd that ALL don’t get caught but the victims may be embarrassed that they fell for such a scam and not report it. In this case, this is a HUGE amount. But it’s not all that rare.
UPDATE (9-Feb-2013) Things have gotten worse for Mitchell as she was arrested again AFTER these initial problems.
Finally, Ms. Mitchell shook my hand and said, “Nice to meet you,” and walked out of the courthouse, and two more lawmen — detectives, and not retired — approached her from behind. One asked, “Are you Sylvia Mitchell?” And she was arrested again.
The older case, the one that brought her to the courthouse on Wednesday, involves accusations that she stole $28,000 from a client at her former place of employment, Zena, a plush Seventh Avenue South storefront for psychics in the West Village. The new charges eclipse the old ones in both dollar amount and bizarreness.
The new allegation, from a former client in Asia, claims Mitchell took her for $120,000. Furthermore, she is now linked to Michael Jackson as a personal advisor for a time, but that could not be confirmed. The new complainant says is well education and should have known better to fall for this scam, but added, “When a person is going through a difficult time, you want to see answers.”
And that’s how they get you. Read the NY Times piece for more.