A 36-year-old psychic who claimed to be ridding an Irvine woman of a curse inherited while in her mother's womb pleaded guilty last week to stealing about $200,000 from the mark.
Lisa Debbie Adams of Los Angeles cut a plea deal Thursday that had her copping to grand theft with a sentencing enhancement for white collar crime exceeding $100,000. In exchange, she'll avoid jail as long as she repays all the money she stole.
Adams was passing out fliers offering her psychic services in West Hollywood in June 2008 when she spotted the Irvine woman holding a different psychic's advertisement. After Adams identified herself as a psychic, she warned the woman of a "darkness" around her and advised her to make an appointment for a "cleansing."
After Adams discovered the woman had $100,000 in an individual retirement account, several meetings were set up between June 2008 and August 2009 in the psychic's West Hollywood apartment and her client's Irvine workplace. Adams instructed the woman to withdraw various amounts of money, as much as $96,000 at one time, in order to "cleanse" her of the curse and "evil."
When the woman told Adams she no longer required the psychic's services, Adams told her they could not stop what they had started lest the curse befall on the woman's family. Out of fear, the customer continued drawing cash out of her accounts for Adams, who also instructed the woman to buy her $30,000 in gold bars (to make a "shield" for protection) and open several credit card accounts to purchase more than $100,000 in luxury gifts--including clothing, furniture, electronics, accessories, and jewelry--(to "ward off evil").
The frustrated (and poorer) client in August 2009 reported what had been happening to Irvine Police, which launched an investigation that culminated in Adams being arrested in April and charged with 32 felony counts of second degree commercial burglary, two felony counts of credit fraud, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of dissuading a witness with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $200,000.
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But, before those counts were filed, Adams had repaid the woman $50,000, and she kicked in another $70,000 before Thursday's court hearing. Adams has pledged to pay $30,000 every six months until she has paid off the $128,000 balance.
If the payments are made on time, Adams will likely be sentenced to probation and community service. If not, she'll be dialing up the psychic hotline from behind bars, according to prosecutors.