News and Press Releases

Jury Convicts Defendant in $25 Million Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2013

Defendant Claimed to be a Fortune Teller and Spiritual Adviser

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, (IRS-CI), Frank Adderly, Chief, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announce that a Fort Lauderdale federal jury found Rose Marks, 62, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New York, New York, guilty of all counts charged in connection with a $25 million fraud scheme.

More specifically, after a month-long trial, the jury convicted Rose Marks of all 14 counts in an indictment which charged conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1349), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1343), conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering (18 U.S.C. ' 1956 and 1957), and filing false income tax returns (26 U.S.C. ' 7206). At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum statutory term of 20 years in prison for each of the mail, wire fraud and conspiracy counts, 10 years for the money laundering counts and three years in prison for each of the tax counts, as well as mandatory restitution and possible fines.

Rose Marks was taken into custody after the verdict was returned. Sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in West Palm Beach.

On August 16, 2011, a multi-count indictment was unsealed charging Rose Marks and nine other defendants with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1349), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. ' 1343), and money laundering conspiracy (18 U.S.C. ' 1956). The indictment, the result of “Operation Crystal Ball,” focused on a group of individuals, all family members, claiming to be fortune tellers, psychic readers and spiritual advisors. In reality, however, these individuals defrauded more than twenty victims out of $25 million.

According to the evidence at trial, Rose Marks and her co-conspirators held themselves out as fortune tellers, clairvoyants and spiritual advisers. In this way, they falsely represented to their victims that they could remove purported curses or negativity from their lives or that of their loved ones. Rose Marks and her co-conspirators claimed that these curses were the cause of illnesses, family problems, marital and relationship issues and other difficulties faced by their victims.

The evidence and testimony presented at trial showed that to execute the scheme, Rose Marks and her co-conspirators used magic tricks and false statements to induce their victims to give them large sums of money and other valuables, including jewelry and gold coins, to be “sacrificed” and “cleansed” of negativity. The defendants told victims that the money would be used for the “work”, which included meditation and prayer, and that they and their family would continue to suffer terrible consequences, unless the money and valuables was “cleansed.” Although the defendants promised to return the victims’ money and valuables when the “work” was completed, the defendants deposited the victims’ funds into bank accounts they controlled and used the money to pay for their personal expenses and promote their lifestyle.

The following defendants have entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing in connection with the August 16, 2011, Indictment:

Vivian Marks, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; pled guilty on 2/8/2013; Sentencing is set for 10/7/2013 at 1:30 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Ricky Marks, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New York, New York; pled guilty on 3/12/2013; sentencing is set for 10/7/2013 1:30 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Michael Marks, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; pled guilty on 11/28/2012; sentencing is set for 10/7/2013 at 1:30 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Victoria Eli, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Secaucus, New Jersey; pled guilty on 3/15/2013; sentencing is set for 11/4/2013 at 1:30 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Nancy Marks, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New York, New York; pled guilty on 3/14/2013; sentencing is set for 12/2/2013 at 10:00 a.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Rosie Marks, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; pled guilty on 2/8/2013; sentencing is set for 12/2/2013 at 10:00 a.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Cynthia Miller, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; pled guilty on 3/15/2013; sentencing is set for 12/2/2013 at 10:00 a.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Donnie Eli, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and New York, New York; pled guilty on 2/08/2013; sentencing is set for 12/2/2013 at 10:00 a.m. in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and U.S. Secret Service. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roger Stefin and Laurence Bardfeld.

Return to Top

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

United States Attorneys 225th Anniversary
USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.