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3 more charged in Las Vegas ‘psychic readings’ $1M scam

Las Vegas prosecutors on Thursday named three more people in a sweeping indictment in a long-running “psychic reading” scam that bilked a California lawyer out of more than $1 million.

Chief District Judge Linda Bell issued arrest warrants for Peaches Marks, Nancy Marks and Rita Stevens, whom prosecutors said had a roll in the scam that netted cash, jewels, airfare and a pair of $130,000 BMWs.

Stevens had previously been named in the case as an uncharged co-conspirator.

Two others, David Marks and Sherry Marks, were previously arrested in the case. Sherry Marks remains behind bars, while David Marks is free on his own recognizance.

The five each face 14 counts of theft and one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of occupation or enterprise.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Mishler said that more than a year ago, Stacey Tokunaga, 56, who focuses on workers’ compensation law in California and Nevada, called a number she found on a flyer for a tarot card reading.

The charges allege that Stevens convinced Tokunaga that she had a “sickness,” and that the only way she could be cured was through cash payments and later the cars and jewels.

For months, the lawyer made hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash withdrawals, cash advances, signed cashier’s checks, allowed the defendants to use her credit cards, gave them jewelry and bought them two luxury sedans, after they promised that she would be “cleansed,” according to court papers.

Sherry Marks, 52, has four felony convictions in New York and Florida dating to 1997, according to Mishler.

Her attorney, Rafael Nones, argued at Thursday’s indictment hearing that Tokunaga received the psychic readings for which she paid.

“She gave it for services that were rendered to her,” Nones said. “We may not believe in the spiritual beliefs that she believes in, but she deeply believes.”

The prosecutor said David Marks, 48, has two felony convictions in Wyoming and New York.

His lawyer, Betsy Allen, told the judge that authorities could have him confused with another David Marks. He claims he has never visited those states, Allen said.

Allen added that David Marks had a relationship with Tokunaga and had lived at her Las Vegas home.

“This money was voluntarily given. Voluntarily. All of it,” Allen said. “And regardless of how we feel about how it was given, it was still given voluntarily.”

Mishler said Tokunaga had kicked him out of her home before the charges were filed.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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