Local newspapers are treasure troves of bizarre, truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories, often found tucked away in the Metro crime section (ok, that just outed us as readers of the actual paper and dated us as people who remember the days when newspapers actually had local sections; and while it might sound odd to hear it from us — we are a website, for Pete’s sake — obscure stories and fascinating obituaries are simply harder to stumble upon in digital venues, alas).
Our own paper of record, the News Journal, is no exception, with the occasional ‘man bites dog’ report gaining national notoriety, a few even getting the royal treatment of a Drudge Report posting.
An item by the intrepid Esteban Parra in Saturday’s paper falls into this crazy category.
“Wilmington psychic gets 1 year and 1 day in prison,” enticed the NY Post-worthy headline.
It went on … “A Wilmington psychic reader busted for filing false tax returns was read her future: one year and a day in prison.”
These were no ordinary, Joe the psychic six-pack tax returns, mind you.
The News Journal: “She filed false tax returns … underreporting her total income by more than $1 million.”
A million bucks short on taxes? A psychic with a Concord Pike-storefront?! What was her income?
Turns out this local soothsayer had a real talent for reading her client’s wallet and gullibility if not their palms: the article says that one client “whose annual income was about $5 million, gave more than $1.1 million to the psychic.”
Her pitch? Clients “were told … that she was removing the negativity from their lives by anonymously donating their money to charities she had selected,” kind of like a new-age United Way.
So many questions: Who was this trusting soul pulling down $5 million a year? How could someone with enough brains to actually earn that kind of paycheck be so easily duped? Let’s hope it isn’t, say, your neighborhood stockbroker. Perhaps this person could be interested in supporting a local media website?
If that trusting soul is reading: please email firstname.lastname@example.org with interest. We are professional “negativity removers!”