“Psychic” Swindler Goes to Jail; Skeptics Say “We Told You So”


For Immediate Release: July 20, 2005
Contact: Jefferson Seaver, Communications
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

AMHERST, N.Y. (July 20, 2005)—Self-described Texas psychic Jennifer Evans (a.k.a. Miss Brooks the “Psychic Spiritualist”) faces twelve years in prison and thousands of dollars of fines after a Bexar County court convicted her of eight counts of “theft of coercion” for conning eight clients out of more than $200,000.

Amy Davis, an investigative journalist for WOAI-TV in San Antonio, learned of Evans’ scam in February 2004, when she was approached by one of Evans’ client/victims. The subsequent investigation resulted in a news report. Ms. Evans was arrested and indicted in December 2004, and arrested again in January 2005 and charged with “theft by deception.” (Hidden-camera footage from the investigation was used as evidence in the trial.) Davis wrote about her investigation in the piece “Psychic Swindlers,” published in the May/June 2005 issue of

Skeptical Inquirer

magazine.

The article details how of Jennifer Evans convinced clients that they were cursed (resulting in cancer), and that the only way to stop the curse was to give Evans thousands of dollars in money and gifts. It also sheds light on the Evans family, a clan of self-described Gypsies with a long history of theft, fraud and deception. Evans’ official sentencing takes place on July 25th.

"This is a real victory for victims of psychics," says Benjamin Radford, managing editor of

Skeptical Inquirer

magazine. "But this sort of thing happens more often than people realize. Often the public views psychics as just harmless fun. As this case shows, many psychics are thieves and con artists who steal desperate people's life savings."


Skeptical Inquirer

is the official journal of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), a nonprofit scientific and educational organization founded in 1976 by Paul Kurtz, Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan and other prominent academics, scientists and writers. CSICOP encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view. Learn more about CSICOP and

S.I.

at

www.csicop.org

.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.