BOCA RATON, Fla. – A psychic in Boca Raton took $115,000 from a client, promising to give her back $90,000 and remove a curse from the cash, but instead gambled it away, according to the Boca Raton Police Department.
In September, 30-year-old Amanda Berkofsky told police she was a victim of fraud, stating that psychic Stephanie Lee, later identified as Stephanie Thompson, took over $115,000 in cash from her and told her she would give her back $90,000.
Berkofsky met Thompson in May 2012 at the Psychic Tea Room and decided to do a reading for $200 in cash.
After the reading, Thompson told Berkofsky that she had a "curse" on her and it would cost her $2,000 to take it off of her, according to an arrest affidavit.
After Berkofsky gave Thompson the money, Thompson told her that she needed more money to remove the curse, police said.
Berkofsky told police Thompson said she would give the money back once she had "meditated" over it and it was clear. Berkofsky said she had to give Thompson the money she received from her mother so that she could clean it.
Thompson told Berkofsky not to give her the money all at once, only in small amounts as not to bring attention to herself.
Police said Berkofsky would meet Thompson at various locations around Boca Raton. They would meet at the CVS in the Fifth Avenue Shops and then go to Bank of America to withdraw money. Thompson would have Berkofsky go to different branches as not to raise suspicion, according to the affidavit.
Thompson also told Berkofsky not to tell anyone about this or it would "erase" whatever work she had done, police said. Thompson said Berkofsky could get the same cancer that her mother had if she didn't go through with this, and Berkofsky said she believed her.
While speaking to an officer, Berkofsky received a phone call from Thompson and turned on the speaker so the officer could listen in. Thompson asked Berkofsky if she was going to meet with her that day. Berkofsky asked Thompson about the money, but said she couldn't get it until that Monday and only $74,000 to $75,000.
The two agreed to meet at the CVS located at the Fifth Avenue Shops, where police said the officer also responded. Thompson initially said she owed Berkofsky $2,000 or $3,000, but had admitted the larger amount when the officer said she heard her earlier phone call.
Thompson admitted that Berkofsky paid for her reading and then gave her money to meditate over. According to police, Thompson went to the casino and lost the money gambling.
Thompson was arrested and charged with grand theft over $100,000 and organized fraud over $50,000.