Swindling psychic at it again?

Eyewitness News Exclusive
February 4, 2009 6:13:55 PM PST
She bills herself, like so many others, as a psychic. But what makes this woman different is that she makes a lot of money peddling her mumbo jumbo. She's already been exposed once before by the Investigators' Sarah Wallace. Now, she's back in business.

And Sarah found her...again.

She has a history of arrests in several states. Now, she can add one more, and it's a biggie. Cops in Manhattan have charged a so-called gypsy psychic in connection with a half-million-dollar swindle.

We knew it would be just a matter of time before Tammy Mitchell, a.k.a. a dozen other names, surfaced again after getting arrested in New Jersey a year and a half ago. And sure enough, several weeks ago, we got a tip that she was plying her psychic spiritual trade in Manhattan, and that she'd reeled in her biggest catch of all.

Busted again, this time in New York City.

The last time we confronted self-proclaimed gypsy psychic, Tammy Mitchell, it was in Cresskill, New Jersey, where cops charged her with conning clients there out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Cresskill Detective Sergeant Joseph Trumbetti: "She feels they are stupid." Sarah: "That's what she told you." Trumbetti: "That's what she told me." Sarah: "So she clearly knows what she's doing?" Trumbetti: "Absolutely."

Jackie Haughn, who paid almost $200,000, told us it began when Mitchell offered to light candles to appease evil spirits, at $25 apiece, then exclaimed...

"There's been a curse put on your family," Haughn said.

Mitchell never served prison time in New Jersey, because she paid restitution.

"Her strategy is to pay restitution to get back out on the street to make more money," Trumbetti said.

Several weeks ago, we got a tip that Mitchell had made a lot more money, even finding herself a half-million-dollar man while doing a booming business out of a storefront in Midtown Manhattan.

"I'm pretty successful at what I do," Mitchell said on a hidden camera.

So we sent in a producer, undercover. Mitchell claimed she would tap into something called astrotravel to identify a female spirit he had inside him.

"It is a female entity that is surrounding you that does not want a woman to lust you, to love you, to care for you as a man," she told him. "Because she is jealous and wants you for herself...Through the meditation and through the astrotravel, I will go and intervene with your spirit."

She would need money to light candles.

"Each candle is $30," she said. "You need 13 candles, alright? They all have to be lit together."

A total of nearly $400 to start. Douglas Lonneker says he started small too, but ended up paying Mitchell, the psychic he knows as Jillian, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sarah: "How quickly did she get you into the big money?" Lonneker: "Pretty quickly. I mean the first week, I was in $200,000."

Douglas Lonneker is a former Wall Street trader and entrepreneur now living in Wyoming. On a visit to Manhattan last year, he stopped in to Mitchell's storefront on a lark and ended up hooked.

Sarah: "She told you that you had a family curse?" Lonneker: "Yeah, and that it was an evil design. I had a curse. As a result, there were like seven evils in my life." Sarah: "The idea that she was freeing these evils." Lonneker: "Money is the root of all evil, and if you want to get the evil out of your life, you have to sort of bribe it." Sarah: "The total amount you gave her?" Lonneker: "Just over half a million dollars." Sarah: "What were you thinking?" Lonneker: "It's a big number."

But Lonneker says Mitchell wanted more money, a lot of it. Friday at 5 p.m., you'll hear how much, as well as why Lonneker decided to work with us in an undercover sting to help expose her.

"Telling someone on the street that a psychic stole half a million dollars from me, they're going to think that you're a crackpot," he said. "So I figure the only chance I'm going to get at a conviction and restitution is to go undercover."

We have good reason to believe there are other alleged victims. If you have any information about this, or any other investigative story, call our tip line at 877-TIP-NEWS.