The 10News I-Team has been tracking one local gypsy family for years.
This time the I-Team exposes the Marks family in hopes of helping a young woman who said a psychic gypsy tricked her.
"She told me things I was hurting about. She said, 'I could fix you,'" said Paige.
The young woman said she was at a Hillcrest pizza parlor thinking about her late father. Her father recently died, and she goes to his favorite restaurant to think about him and remember him. It was at Bronx Pizza where a woman named April Marks approached the young lady.
"She said I could feel my pain that I was hurting over a man," said Paige.
Paige said the woman convinced her to have a private reading at the back of the restaurant. They met face to face for an hour, and Paige told the I-Team the woman had her in tears.
Paige said the woman convinced her she was cursed when her mother was pregnant with her, and that the curse is now impacting her father.
"That's why he can't go to heaven, and he's stuck in a bad place," Paige said April Marks told her.
Frightened, yet convinced, Paige said she gave the woman $300 after the psychic promises to buy blessed candles from Jerusalem that would help remove the curse.
Over the next two weeks, Paige said she saw the young April Marks three more times at the Psychic Shop on El Cajon Boulevard. The parlor is owned by John Marks, the son of Michael Marks Sr., aka "BIG" Mike.
Paige told the I-Team the readings got more intense and personal. She said April Marks swore her to secrecy, and if she told anyone her father would never reach heaven.
The psychic gypsy asked Paige for $5,000, all the money her father left her. With that money, Paige said April Marks promised to buy special crystals from Jerusalem that would ultimately remove the curse and unleash her father's spirit.
"I thought I was doing it for my dad. It's the only reason why I did it," said Paige.
After giving the woman the $5,000, Paige said the woman disappeared. Paige said she never got her crystals, and when she went by the parlor she was told April Marks was in Texas. So, Paige called the I-Team to share her story, once she realized she was scammed.
Detective Patty Parra with the Carlsbad Police Department said what happened to Paige is very typical.
"Once they get what they want from you, they're gone," said Parra.
Parra has been tracking gypsy crimes for years, and said typically the crime is theft by deception or false pretenses.
Tom DiZinno with the National City Police Department agreed, and said many gypsies are raised to do this.
"Every one of these gypsy scams suck you into a deal after the initial reading," DiZinno said. "The Marks family has been object of investigations throughout the county. They are traditional gypsies from what we understand and involved in different financial scams."
In Paige's case, the hope was to get her money returned to her.
The I-Team tried to find out where April Marks was, but when they went by the El Cajon location a door was slammed in the their face. The young lady who answered the door did tell us April was not there at the time.
The I-Team then went to National City to talk to "BIG" Mike, the King of the Gypsies. First he denied he was Michael Marks, then he told the I-Team he doesn't know April Marks. The I-Team confirmed April Marks is a close relative, and that she has lived with him before at his National City location.
In a statement from John Marks, he denies any involvement with April Marks:
"We have no knowledge of this lady's complaint against our psychic business locations here in San Diego. April does not work for us or has any ties to any of our locations. It is my understanding that April meets and dealt with this lady at a local pizza restaurant.Our Psychic Shop locations are property owned and operated by our family members. And are conducted and ran in a professional and respectful matter! And we strongly believe in our spiritualist Catholic religion, and we all practice it on a daily bases, and some of our psychic are even ordained spiritualist ministers.Michael Marks is an 82-year-old sick man and is diagnosed with Alzheimers."
The I-Team has learned that the San Diego Police Department is investigating.
The I-Team has found two different Web sites that discuss psychic gypsies:
The www.gypsypsychicscams.com Web site is a San Diego-based site where victims of gypsy or psychic scams share stories. The www.fraudtech.bizland.com site also provides substantial information about this particular kind of activity and warning signs for people.
Copyright Copyright 2008 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.