SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A Tarzana, Calif., psychic and her husband face charges for allegedly bilking a customer of nearly $1 million in a two-year scam, court records said.
April Lee, 28, and Michael Johnson, 32, were charged with grand theft, attempted grand theft and extortion after a sting operation last month, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Friday.
Investigators said Lee, operating under the name Michelle Morgan, met victim Bryan James, 25, in 2011. She offered James, suffering from depression brought on by career, relationship and health issues, psychic advice in the form of suggesting she could cure a love curse place on him, with appropriate time and money.
"People who do this are always looking for victims who are going through career issues, health issues or love issues. He had all three, ... the perfect mark," said private investigator Bob Nygaard, who specializes in helping victims of psychics.
James handed over $926,750 to Lee and Johnson in a two-year period, the criminal complaint states.
Lee later sent James text messages from an alleged secret love interest, telling James because of the love curse, the two would-be lovers could not speak to each other, only through Lee. Eventually James' suspicion was raised, and he realized the text messages originated with Lee, the newspaper said.
Lee and Johnson were arrested after the final payment to break the curse, $500,000 from the sale of the home of James' mother, was paid during a sting operation in San Jose.
"This is very common, unfortunately," said Cherie Boulard, the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case. "A lot of it goes unreported, but when you're looking at $900,000, something has to be done."