A Massachusetts woman claiming to be psychic allegedly scammed a mother for $70,000 by telling her that her 10-year-old daughter was possessed by a demon and that she needed money in order to exorcise it, police said.
Police arrested Tracy Milanovich, 37, on Dec. 27 and charged her with six counts of obtaining property by trick, along with larceny and witness intimidation.
The police began investigating Milanovich last month when the alleged victim came forward accusing the so-called psychic of tricking her into handing over large sums of money and household items in order to banish the demon, the Associated Press reported.
The victim first visited Milanovich in November for a tarot card reading at her business in Somerset called Tracy's Psychic Palm Reader.
A Facebook page for the business lists the services provided as psychic readings, palm readings, tarot card readings, full life readings, spiritual healing, and advice on all matter of life.
Under the Reviews tab, one user took advantage of the news of Milanovich's arrest, chiding, "I have 71k burning a hole in my pocket. Any suggestions?"
She told the mother her daughter was 'dead in God's eyes'
Milanovich allegedly told the mother that her daughter had "something inside of her that was bad" and that she was "dead in God's eyes," according to the police report.
Milanovich then told the woman that she needed to "purchase her daughter's soul back." Authorities say that she continued asking for more and more money even after initial payments were made, suggesting that previous payment "only cleaned half of her daughter."
The mother was allegedly told that Milanovich would "take the demon from her daughter and place it in [a] Barbie doll."
She was also allegedly ordered not to tell anyone because "[the] spirits would know what she was doing if she told anyone."
Police are asking other victims to come forward
Somerset police are asking anyone who believes they have been victimized by Milanovich to come forward.
But a retired New York City cop turned private investigator told the Boston Herald that victims coming forward is unlikely as many are too embarrassed to report being duped to the police.
"It's important for people to realize that this happens to a lot of educated people. No one is immune to falling for a con artist," said Bob Nygaard, who helped crack an $800,000 psychic swindling case of his own.
"You need to understand how good these con artists are at duping vulnerable people," he added. "People should not feel ashamed about coming forward."
Nygaard gave credit to the Somerset police for taking the case seriously, as law enforcement are often tempted to disregard the claims of people in similar situations.
He also pointed out a major red flag that psychic customers should watch out for, and that is when a psychic says, "you can't talk about this with anybody ... this is only between you and me."