Canadian psychic conned Americans out of $175 million but didn't see the 10-year prison sentence coming
ยท Apr 24, 2024 ยท

Since 1994, a Canadian named Patrice Runner has been sending people in the U.S. letters from psychics "Maria Duval" and "Patrick Guerin," promising them help with their problems through psychic guidance and magical items for a fee.

Over those decades, 1.3 million people in the U.S. sent Runner $175 million.

Runner used a Montreal company to send the letters to people across the U.S. and Canada. Each one claimed to be a personal communication from "so-called 'psychics' Maria Duval and Patrick Guerin," according to the Justice Department. However, no purported psychics were involved in the operation and the personalized letters were nearly identical forms sent to people whose names were obtained from mailing lists created by other con artists.

People who sent money would receive dozens of additional letters offering to sell them more services and items with supposed magical powers.

The Justice Department called it all a scam and wanted to put in him jail for 280 years.

(Who knew psychics lived that long?)

In their sentencing recommendation, prosecutors said that on average Runner "defrauded more than 7,000 victims per week. Seven thousand victims would be notable in any case โ€” but for Runner, that was only seven days' work out of more than 20 years."

"He did nothing else; he possesses no other skills. Runner was a full-time fraudster for decades."

But the jury saw things differently.

"The government has portrayed Patrice Runner as greedy, cynical, and heartless. He is none of those things," James Darrow, an assistant federal defender, wrote in his sentencing recommendation.

"To be sure, the jury has determined that much of his astrological work was fraudulent. But it also determined that much was not. Hundreds of thousands of customers, hopeful for magic, came to Patrice Runner for astrological goods and service. Whatever one might say about Mr. Runner's motivations, it is undisputed that he spent years trying to help them believe they were getting exactly what they wanted," Darrow wrote.

In the end, Runner was sentenced to a measly 10 years in prison.

Clearly, he thought it was going to be a lot longer since they caught him on the lam in Spain, and he had to be extradited back to the U.S. to stand trial.

Not much of a psychic, is he?

P.S. Now check out our latest video ๐Ÿ‘‡

Keep up with our latest videos โ€” Subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Ready to join the conversation? Subscribe today.

Access comments and our fully-featured social platform.

Sign up Now
App screenshot