You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Jury finds ‘psychic’ Rose Marks guilty on all 14 fraud charges, faces possible 20 years in prison


Even before the jury’s first guilty verdict was read, stifled sobs filled the courtroom. As the clerk repeated “guilty” 14 times, the quiet sobbing crescendoed.

“Psychic” Rose Marks turned to members of her family and put a finger to her lips, telling them to hush.

But it didn’t help.

Seeing the 62-year-old matriarch convicted of 14 fraud-related charges and immediately slapped in handcuffs on Thursday was too much for family members who were part of and benefited from the multi-million-dollar fortune-telling business that collapsed under the weight of a federal investigation.

Some reached out, trying to touch her. One threw a Bible. One called out to the lead investigator, mocking him. When they realized their beloved mother, grandmother and sister was about to walk through an open door and be taken to jail, shouts rang out.

“Mom, I love you!” one called. “Don’t be afraid!” yelled another.

“I’m not afraid,” Marks responded, as U.S. Marshals surrounded her. “I love you, too.”

The emotional end to the monthlong trial was not as unexpected as the verdict. When the trial began, cynics scoffed at the notion that a psychic could be charged with separating a fool and his money.

But, prosecutors methodically built a case, showing how Marks, her daughters-in-law and even her granddaughter preyed on broken people who came to their storefronts in midtown Manhattan and Fort Lauderdale to deal with tragedies life had handed them. Instead of solace or guidance, they told clients the only way out was to give them money — lots of it — with the promise it would one day be returned. Instead, the psychics amassed a roughly $25 million fortune.

“I’ll be the voice of the victims. Justice has been served,” said Charles Stack, who began what appeared to be a quixotic investigation in 2008 before he retired from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

People understood the agony of those who trusted epic Ponzi schemers Scott Rothstein and Bernie Madoff, Stack said.

In many ways, Marks’ victims were more sympathetic. Unlike those who fell prey to Rothstein or Madoff, the psychic’s clients weren’t looking for money. “In this case, the victims were praying for hope, and hope is the unwavering belief in the unseen,” Stack said.

Stack, who said he understood why Marks’ family lashed out at him, is a hero to the victims, including best-selling romance novelist Jude Deveraux. He befriended the writer, helping her get over the shock of learning that her nearly 20-year relationship with Marks was a sham and she was unlikely to ever recover the $20 million she had given the psychic “to cleanse.”

“I’m glad she’s going to be taken off the streets and out of the business and she won’t hurt anyone else,” said Deveraux, 66, who splits her time between New York City and Southwest Ranches near Fort Lauderdale.

Deanna Wolfe, who lost nearly $1 million during her three-decade relationship with Marks, expressed mixed feelings about the verdict. “I don’t know if she started out meaning to do this or if the greed and the money just took over,” said Wolfe, 72, who lives in Virginia. “It’s a sad thing for everyone involved, including her family.”

Deveraux, who sought Marks’ help to deal with an abusive husband and the death of an 8-year-old son in a 2005 ATV accident, expressed no such ambivalence. “It was never a friendship,” she said. “There’s no sadness. None.”

Unlike other victims, she said she doesn’t care if she gets back any of the money she lost. Wolfe, who ran up huge credit card debts and borrowed money from a wealthy friend, said she is hopeful some of the money will be returned.

Attorney Fred Schwartz, who defended Marks, said the government seized all of Marks’ assets — including cars, a boat, motorcycles, jewelry, gold coins and a home near the Intracoastal Waterway. During the trial, he portrayed the victims as satisfied customers who were improperly convinced they were victims by Stack. He said he plans to appeal based on improper investigative procedures by government agents who he said kept key evidence from him.

He tried to prepare Marks for the possibility that, if convicted, she would be taken immediately to jail. He said she expects to die behind bars. While the punishment for the convictions on 14 charges carry a maximum punishment of roughly 250 years, realistically she faces of 10 to 15 years, he said.

“Rose believes that even with a 4- or 5-year sentence, given the wear and tear on her body from working since she was 8 or 9 years old, she would die in jail,” Schwartz said. During the trial she used a cane to deal with knee problems and experienced chest pains when the verdict was announced.

Her daughter and son-in-law, her two sons and their wives, her sister and granddaughter also each pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire/mail fraud. They will be sentenced before Marks learns her fate on Dec. 9.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Couple’s dedication to Holocaust Museum runs deep
Couple’s dedication to Holocaust Museum runs deep

The importance of preserving Holocaust memory was ingrained in both Linda and Jay Rosenkranz as children, as a result of personal experiences they each had with directly aiding Holocaust survivors post-war. As a child in New York, Jay’s family housed Holocaust survivors who had no one else to turn to immediately after World War II. Linda&rsquo...
POST TIME: Anecdotes from Palm Beach County’s historic 1977 snowfall
POST TIME: Anecdotes from Palm Beach County’s historic 1977 snowfall

Readers: Yes. It really snowed in Palm Beach County! We’ll yield this week to our Weather Plus colleague Kim Miller, who will be revisiting that historic event, Jan. 19, 1977, elsewhere in the Post. But just for fun, we pass along some interesting sidebars: Shovels: Three weeks before, a West Palm Beach Kmart store got a misdirected shipment...
Sports & Recreation

Compiled by Jimmy Knight. Email sports news to him at jknight@pbpost.com. Trying to keep that New Year’s resolution to shed those holiday pounds or stay healthy and fit like you did all year? Palm Beach County Parks offers over 80 facilities from Tequesta to Belle Glade to Boca Raton, including 16 exercise courses ranging from the three-station...
Wellington High’s Royals Dance Team to host annual showcase
Wellington High’s Royals Dance Team to host annual showcase

Compiled by Sy O’Neill. Send school news to neighborhood@pbpost.com. Dated items must be sent at least two weeks before the event. WELLINGTON HIGH The Royals Dance Team’s annual showcase takes place at 7 p.m. Friday in the high school auditorium. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children. SOUTH GRADE ELEMENTARY Robert Restino and Melissa...
Sports & Recreation
Sports & Recreation

Compiled by Jimmy Knight. Email sports news to him at jknight@pbpost.com. Trying to keep that New Year’s resolution to shed those holiday pounds or stay healthy and fit like you did all year? Palm Beach County Parks offers over 80 facilities from Tequesta to Belle Glade to Boca Raton, including 16 exercise courses ranging from the three-station...
More Stories