Swindling psychic at it again? Part II

Eyewitness News Exclusive
February 8, 2008 3:05:45 PM PST
Most people who say they're victims of scams are too embarrassed to admit they were taken. But not one former Wall Street trader.He teamed up with The Eyewitness News Investigators to catch a suspected con artist.

Sarah Wallace has the second part of her exclusive story.

She's a self-proclaimed gypsy psychic who cops say has scammed her way from Texas to Florida to New Jersey and, now, New York.

For part I of Sarah Wallace's story, click here.

What she didn't predict is that one of her alleged victims would set her up in a sting.

"You need $1 million to finish your project," Tammy Mitchell told our undercover client.

Mitchell is a self-proclaimed psychic trying to work her mystical magic in a New York City hotel room on Wyoming entrepreneur Douglas Lonneker.

"You know, I'm broke," he told told.

What Mitchell didn't realize is that, by now, Lonneker thinks her talk is a scam, and a very expensive one at that.

Sarah: "The total amount you gave her?" Lonneker: "Just over $500,000."

He knows it sounds crazy. But after a chance visit to Mitchell's Midtown Manhattan storefront last year, Lonneker says the psychic he knows as Jillian convinced him he had a family curse. He began wiring her money and has the transfers to prove it.

Lonneker: "When the evils were brought out, they need to be buried in a cemetery. And the money was supposed to hold them down." Sarah: "And did you worry that something would happen to someone in your family if you didn't do what she said?" Lonneker: "Absolutely. It's extortion."

It was when Mitchell decided to fly out to his Wyoming home to remove evil spirits that Lonneker says he became a real believer. He says he was told to step on oranges.

Lonneker: "And you would actually step on a fruit and there'd be some godforsaken thing inside of it." Sarah: "You stepped on oranges and evils came out?" Lonneker: "Yep, like three-dimensional things coming out of fruit that you bought in a store, and you can't figure out how that happens, so you think that might be true."

And then there was what happened in Lonneker's oven. He says Mitchell had him heat up some papers. He says frightening messages emerged, similar to the ones seen from a victim in another case.

Lonneker: "That there is a curse in my life and that these evils can be removed." Sarah: "How much more did she want after the $500,000." Lonneker: "We had removed five of the seven evils. Two more to go. It was going to cost another $1 million."

And that's how we met Lonneker. He started doing Internet research about psychics and found a story we aired about Mitchell from the summer of 2006, when she'd been arrested in New Jersey and charged with scamming victims there.

Lonneker offered to come back to New York City and set Mitchell up. Until then, he'd been too embarrassed to tell anyone what he'd done.

"I have consumed all of my available cash, refinanced a home, liquidated an IRA, sold stocks," he said.

Mitchell agreed to meet him in his hotel room. Keep in mind, she thought she was going to get another million from him.

"It takes nine days for the evil to go back to hell?" he asked her.

She tells him if the evils are satisfied with the money, he'll get it back.

"It will take days for this evil to find its way back home, back to where it originated from," she told him. "Why nine days? I don't know. Maybe it's gotta make some pit stops."

The next morning, at our encouragement, Lonneker filed a police complaint against Tammy Mitchell.

"I felt like a victim, felt sorry for myself," he said. "I felt, this is pathetic, I think people are going to laugh at me if I come public with something like this."

He'd decided to take back control of his life.

"I have an obligation to come forward, to expose this psychic game that apparently goes on all over the country," he said.

Hours after Lonneker filed his complaint, Midtown South detectives charged Tammy Mitchell with grand larceny.

Sarah: "Did you feel bad at all seeing her in handcuffs?" Lonneker: "No, she deserves it."

Mitchell has posted bail and is out of jail. Lonneker says he will do whatever he can to send her back.

If you have any information about this or any other investigative story, call our tipline at 877-TIP-NEWS or E-mail us directly at The.Investigators@abc.com.