From: Sun Sentinel
The defense for a family of fortune tellers charged with defrauding their clients has accused the lead detective of benefiting from a business loan made by the celebrity victim in the case, novelist Jude Deveraux.
Rose Marks, now of Hollywood, and eight family members are facing federal charges they fleeced their customers of up to $40 million — with about half of the estimated loss coming from Deveraux, the best-selling author of dozens of romance novels.
In court records filed Monday, the defense alleged that a gym that is part-owned by the lead investigator on the case, retired Fort Lauderdale Detective Charles Stack, borrowed $35,000 from Deveraux, an alleged victim and potential witness in the case. The loan was given in July 2011, shortly before the Marks family members were arrested in August 2011, and was repaid about a month later, the defense said.
The RingFit gym, on State Road 84 in Davie, opened in 2011, according to state records and the gym’s website.
“The [defense] investigator believes that within a week before the arrests in this case, that business borrowed $35,000 from your prime witness, Jude Deveraux. Further, he believes that about a month later Mr. Stack’s business paid Ms. Deveraux a check for $35,000,” Marks’ defense attorney Fred Schwartz wrote to prosecutors in court documents.
The defense also alleged that Stack or his businesses received “additional significant funds” from Deveraux and accused prosecutors of concealing evidence of an “improper relationship” between the chief investigator and the main victim.
Prosecutors say a South Florida family of gypsies amassed $40 million in a fortune-telling scam, warning victims that if they didn’t follow the psychics’ advice, terrible things would happen to them or their loves ones.