Area of Law: Fraud and Fraud Recovery
Answer # 1555
Spiritualist and Psychic fraudRegion: Ontario Answer # 1555
What is spiritualist and psychic fraud?
Frauds are often perpetrated by people holding themselves out to be spiritualists and psychics. Spiritualism has been defined as a belief that spirits of the dead exist and have the ability and desire to communicate with the living.
Fraud is likely to occur when:
- the spiritualist’s or psychic’s desire for money exceeds their ethical, moral or professional duty; and
- they have a client who is particularly vulnerable, and may have exhausted all other avenues for help.
Expressing a belief system is not a form of fraud. However, if someone represents themselves as a god or claims to communicate on behalf of a god or spirit to obtain large sums of money and property from someone else, the Court will often find that such representations are fraudulent. Because psychics and spiritualists are unregulated in our society, there is a greater opportunity for fraud to occur.
Common types of spiritualist and psychic fraud
1. Civil recovery and criminal cases
Normally, cases of fraud by psychics and spiritualists are only prosecuted in civil cases or criminally when:
- the service fees charged are much higher than acceptable fees charged by therapists, licensed psychologists, or religious guides; and/or
- the psychic or spiritualist demands the transfer of money, or other assets such as jewellery or other personal property from their victim, either to prevent some form of harm or to obtain some form of benefit, which does not occur; and/or
- the psychic or spiritualist insists that their victim pay for the psychic’s or spiritualist’s lifestyle.
2. Breach of trust
Breach of trust is another common type of fraud that psychics and spiritualists are prosecuted for. Once they have secured the trust of their clients, the spiritualist or psychic will often have a better understanding of the person’s vulnerabilities, and be able to learn detailed information about their financial situation. Over time the spiritualist or psychic has the opportunity to extort and coerce the victim into transferring over their money and other assets.
If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.
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