King County prosecutors contend palm reader Paula Ann Adams persuaded a woman to lend her thousands of dollars worth of Nordstrom gift cards, which she was caught on camera spending hours later.
According to charging papers, Adams, 36, used a well-worn scheme to bilk a woman who'd come to her seeking spiritual guidance.
The basic scam consists of a victim, usually in a vulnerable state, who seeks the help of a psychic palm reader to help them with a relationship problem, Bellevue Detective Shelby Shearer told the court.
The con artist charges a moderate amount of money for the first reading, then tells the victim her money must be "cleansed" because it is the cause of the trouble.
At the con artist's urging, the victim cashes out her bank accounts and performs a series of rituals meant to rid the money of evil. The victim is then cleaned out when she delivers the money to the psychic for a final cleaning.
Bellevue police began investigating Adams in February following a report that she'd taken $25,000 from one woman.
Speaking with police, the woman explained she was in the midst of a divorce and seeking spiritual guidance when she stopped in at Adams' shop on Issaquah's Front Street for her first reading.
According to charging papers, the woman visited Adams 12 times, paying her hundreds of dollars for the readings. She also brought $25,000 in cash and $4,000 in Nordstrom gift cards to Adams for "cleansing."
Investigators later learned Adams went on a shopping spree in the days after the woman gave her the cards. According to charging papers, Adams actually exhausted six of the eight $500 cards the night she received them.
In a series of text messages, the woman demanded Adams return her money and property. Bellevue investigators then conducted an undercover investigation targeting Adams.
Adams was charged with one count of first-degree theft and five counts of second-degree theft. She pleaded not guilty to all six charges Thursday in King County Superior Court.
Material in this story is from the seattlepi.com.