CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio woman purporting to be a psychic reader pleaded guilty last week to a charge of aggravated theft for what prosecutors say was a $1.4 million scam that bilked a dozen people out of cash, jewelry and valuables in exchange for her protection from dark forces.
42-year-old Gina Miller, of Madison, originally faced 28 counts, including racketeering, in an indictment handed up by a grand jury last September in Painesville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Cleveland. She could receive as many as eight years in prison during sentencing next month.
No one thus far has been willing to discuss exactly how Miller convinced people to turn cash and other valuables during a period that the indictment said spanned from 2001 through 2015.
The 12 victims named in the indictment either had no publicly listed telephone numbers, declined to comment, or didn’t return messages. Miller’s attorney also didn’t return messages. A number listed for Miller wasn’t accepting calls. Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson said he couldn’t discuss the case until after Miller is sentenced.
The city of Mentor, where Miller’s psychic business was located, provided copies of police reports from two women whose complaints weren’t included in the criminal case. One of the reports from 2009 said an assistant Lake County prosecutor declined to pursue a criminal case because the woman willingly gave Miller money and other things of value.
Both women told police they paid Miller for her protection. The (Willoughby) News-Herald has reported that police said some victims might be afraid to come forward because of fears Miller might harm them or their families.
The indictment lists of broad range of amounts for what victims claim to have given Miller, but five of the 12 reportedly lost at least $150,000 each.
Lake County Common Pleas Judge Vincent Culotta has ordered Miller to forfeit $24,000 in cash, four Rolex watches, a diamond ring, designer purses, cellphones, computers, fortune telling equipment and other seized items.
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