Looking more morose than mystic, shamed clairvoyant Ann Thompson, 42, solemnly emerged from the holding room of the Manhattan Supreme Court, dressed in a grey tank-top with her hair scraped back.
Thompson last appeared in court in August, where she pleaded not guilty to 17 counts, including scheme to defraud, grand larceny, and forgery, in relation to complaints made by 12 of her former clients.
Prosecutors say she touted herself as a renowned psychic medium and advertised readings for five dollars, operating out of the storefront ‘Psychic Zoe’ on West 35th Street, near Seventh Avenue.
However, the New Jersey native’s services came with a number of additional costs, with Thompson purported have regularly told her alleged victims that they ‘needed to provide her funds for a spiritual protection plan’, to ensure that family members would be protected too.
She’s said to have assured them the funds would be returned on completion of the plan, however, she apparently later refused to return the money, warning aggrieved customers their ‘family would be in danger’ if she did.
In one such instance outlined by prosecutors, Thompson is said to have duped a Canadian woman into handing over a staggering $740,000 between 2013 and 2017.
The woman was said to have visited Thompson’s second-floor parlor in February 2013 telling her she was having relationship problems.
Sensing a broken heart and a vulnerable nature, prosecutors say that during their meeting Thompson warned the woman she was ‘in great danger’, failing to elaborate further.
Having built up a relationship with the woman, Thompson told her she needed to purchase gold coins and a number of other items ‘which would be set up in a room at [Thompson’s] temple which would help protect [the victim] from danger.’
She also allegedly told the woman that she’d never find love again unless she bought Thompson a 9.2 carat diamond ring.
Thompson assured the woman that everything placed at the temple was the woman’s property and the temple ‘was not making any profit’ from her payments.
Thompson also convinced the victim to spend large sums of money on spells to vanquish demons and protect family members from dying.
Over the next four years, Thompson received hundreds and thousands of dollars from the woman, before she eventually concluded that ‘Psychic Zoe’ was likely a fraud.
The woman, who hasn’t been named in legal documents, wasn’t alone either. Similarly, a 49-year-old Mid-Western man fell victim to a similar scheme when he visited Thompson in December 2017, authorities said.
For the next week, the man saw Thompson on several occasions, where he’s said to have been convinced that he was ‘suffering from a number of psychic maladies which she could cure’.
The man was then coerced into purchasing $72,000 worth of gold coins so he could ‘place them in a special location at her temple which would cure his aura,’ prosecutors claim.
She’s said to have told him he would be supplying half of the coins, and the other half would be donated by Temple, adding in a contract that she ‘promised’ after the ritual’s completion either the coins or full cash value would be returned to him.
After consulting with his wife, the man requested Thompson return the cash, but she refused, court documents say.
Both of the victims then hired private investigator Bob Nygaard, a specialist in the apprehension of psychic scammers. He first began working on the case in 2016, before a formal police report was made in May of this year.
Following Thompson’s arrest that same month, ten other victims came forward to authorities claiming to have fallen victim to similar schemes at the Psychic Zoe parlor.
During her last court appearance, Prosecutor Michael Lumley branded Thompson a ‘con artist’ who preyed on and exploited the vulnerable in an impassioned plea to increase her $50,000 bail.
The judge concurred, saying the new charges exposed her to a significant prison term and ordered her to be detained on a $250,000 bond.
Shamed clairvoyant Ann Thompson, 42, solemnly emerged from the holding room of the Manhattan Supreme Court, dressed in a grey tank-top with her hair scraped back, ahead of her fraud trial.