Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer # 1816
Spiritualist and Psychic fraudRegion: Ontario Answer # 1816
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 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 (e.g religion, therapy)
Expressing a belief system is not a form of fraud. However, where representing oneself as a god or claiming to communicate on behalf of a god or spirit is designed to obtain the transfer of large sums of money and property, 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, or criminal cases
Normally, cases of fraud by psychics and spiritualists are only prosecuted as civil recovery and, or criminal cases when:
- the service fees that the the client (victim) are charged are considerably higher than acceptable fees charged by therapists, licensed psychologists, or religious guides; and/or
- the psychic and 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.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.
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 (money, property, assets, etc). Over time, the victim loses control of their well-being to the spiritualist or psychic, who then has the opportunity to extort and coerce the victim to transfer 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.
If you have been charged with a fraud or any criminal offence, contact our preferred criminal law expert, Calvin Barry Criminal Lawyers.
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