Caveat emptor

Man laments giving away $718K to 2 psychics

Niall Rice, a successful professional who gave away more than $718,000, over time, to two Manhattan psychics that vowed to reunite him with the woman he loved, in Los Angeles, Nov. 12, 2015. (Emily Berl/The New York Times)

A 33-year-old man is speaking out about having given a staggering $718,000 to a pair of women psychics so they would help reunite him with a former flame. “It’s embarrassing now,” Niall Rice confessed in an interview with The New York Times. Indeed, when one absorbs all of the details of his bizarre saga, it’s hard to imagine any emotion, besides maybe profound regret, eclipsing the sheer humiliation that accompanies such a thorough hoodwinking. Rice, and a friend of his, recount the tale of how he was taken by two women psychics who were nothing more than relentless con artists. The story begins in earnest while Rice was spending time in an Arizona rehab facility to deal with a drug and alcohol addiction. He met and fell in love with a fellow patient, a woman named Michelle, also a drug addict. But, after both left rehab, Michelle’s addiction sent her back into the facility, and the two agreed to break up. Still, Rice longed for Michelle and began seeing Brandy, the first of two Manhattan psychics whose counsel he’d seek. He paid her large sums of money ostensibly to win back Michelle, and bought Brandy a $40,000 Tiffany ring that would purportedly keep evil spirits at bay while she worked.

When he lost faith in Brandy, he began frequenting Christina, who also charged him tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for curious other-realm favors. Eventually, Rice learned on Facebook that Michelle, his former flame, had died of a drug overdose. Christina implored him not to believe it. “If you believe it, it’s true,” he recalls her telling him. Instead, she instructed him to pay her $90,000 so he could build a magic bridge to Michelle in an unseen dimension. Eventually, Rice’s bank became wary of his large cash withdrawals and asked, when he went to withdraw $100,000 at one point, what he was spending the money on. A car, he lied. Eventually he ended up sleeping with Christina, which complicated the case against her. At the point they began a sexual relationship, her lawyer argued, they were no longer engaged in a business transaction.

Both of the women were ultimately charged in the case, and Rice’s identity was concealed by prosecutors when the case made headlines earlier this year. Which makes it all the more intriguing as to why Rice is taking the humiliation head on and speaking out now about the unusual circumstances.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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