A fortune teller in Queens, Ying Liu, is scheduled to be in court for violating law against the illegal operation of fortune tellers in New York. Fortune tellers are defined as anyone who ”claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses.” The law does not apply to people who tell fortunes ”as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purposes of entertainment or amusement.”
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The case sprouted after the psychic assured Chung Chen Lin that she will bestow him the same psychic powers for $8,000. Indeed, Mr. Chung paid up, waited for a year, and yet nothing happened.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, arrests of fortune tellers are not common.
“Prosecutions for the crime of fortunetelling are not unheard of, but they are still exceedingly rare,” said the spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, Patrick Clark.
Though many victims of false psychics are hesitant to report their cases, Mr. Chung felt he needed to do something about what happened to him.
On December 20, Ms. Liu was arrested and arraigned on Dec 21. She faces charges of Grand Larceny in the third degree for stealing money from Mr. Chung and not delivering the goods and also for fortune telling. If she is found guilty for fortune telling, she will spend 90 days in prison. And for grand larceny, she will spend up to 7 years in jail. The accused psychic refused to discuss her case.