BOCA RATON, Fla. - Bob Nygaard of Boca Raton is one of a few private investigators around the country that specializes in finding fake fortune tellers.
He says South Florida is a hot bed for the people he calls scammers who take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
"This is organized crime and there is a network all over the country. It's been going on for centuries and is passed down from generation to generation. The mothers teach their daughters," Nygaard said.
Just this past weekend, Nygaard says a lengthy investigations tracked down a psychic in Pompano Beach who was arrested for conning a woman out of 800,000 dollars.
"The psychics you see in the storefront who are dressed kind of shabby and don't have that much money actually are the same people who when they drive away go live in a million dollar house on the Intracoastal and they're driving around in a Masserati," Nygaard said.
Nygaard says the phony psychics prey on the vulnerable, mainly people who have lost loved ones. He says they convince them they are cursed and that money will break the spell.
"It leaves the victims penniless and emotionally broken. Law enforcement needs to take it seriously," Nygaard said.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says he is taking the issue very seriously.
He is one of the people who busted Miss Cleo, a phone psychic Aronberg helped shutdown as the Florida Assistant Attorney General.
"I've seen psychics say the root of all your problems is the evil money in your pocket and bank accounts. They say you need to bury the money in your backyard. And then the psychic will dig the money up later on," Aronberg said.
Aronberg says he is determined to protect victims and change the reputation that South Florida is a safe haven for psychics taking advantage of people.
"My message to those psychics who believe it is open season in Palm Beach County...it is not. We will go after you," Aronberg said.
Nygaard says there are good, fair psychics out there, but to be careful if someone ever tells you you've been cursed or starts asking for more and more money.
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