Author Jude Deveraux Was Suicidal After Losing $20 Million to Fortune Telling Con


He says Marks feels "betrayed" by Deveraux and said, "Rose basically lived with Deveraux for years, saw her many, many times a week and counseled her through the death of her son."

Schwartz said there will be people in trial who will testify on behalf of the positive benefits of working with Marks.

The family allegedly sought out vulnerable customers looking to cure illnesses, end spells of bad luck or mend broken relationships. They performed Tarot card readings, palm reading, astrology readings, numerology readings and spiritual readings. Stack said that most of the victims were women who fit the same profile.

"They're highly intelligent women, very successful and very vulnerable at the time of the taking," Stack said. "These aren't crazy women."

Many of the victims have suffered a traumatic loss, including Deveraux. In 2005, Deveraux's 8-year-old son died when he was hit by a truck while riding his dirt bike at their home in North Carolina.

When Deveraux told Marks she thought she needed to see a grief counselor, Marks told her that her son was "caught between heaven and hell and needs to be protected," Stack said. Marks said that Deveraux needed to stick with her and they would save the boy.

When Stack found Deveraux in the hotel room, she had hit rock bottom. "She wanted to die and be with her son. She loved him dearly," Stack said.

Over the years, Marks convinced Deveraux to sell her house and all of her assets while isolating herself from all of her family and friends. Stack said that threats were made against her and her family in order to keep the money coming.

"Jude believes that she signed a will," Stack said. "We're desperately trying to find that."

In an email to, Deveraux said that her 2010 novel "Scarlet Nights" details how the fraudulent psychics work and how they exploit people for money.

"I worked with the police on the story, especially the few pages that tell about the way gypsies give people hope and how they cut them off from everyone. This is all done for money," Deveraux wrote to

Best Selling Author Jude Devereaux Lost Her Fortune in Alleged Scam

In the novel, Deveraux writes about a character named Mitzi, a fraudulent psychic much like Marks is described in court papers.

"What she did took cunning and a total disregard for the quality of human life," Deveraux wrote. She writes about Mitzi's strategy of gaining the client's trust, using religion and faith to create hope and finally taking control of their lives.

"Women in trauma, in grief, whose lives were in chaos, thronged to her, hoping to find answers about what they should do to solve their problems," Deveraux wrote. "Mitzi took the ones who were so desperate for relief that they were willing to pay all they had to get out of the turmoil their lives had become."

In the indictment, Deveraux is identified only by her initials, J.M. Her real name is Jude Gilliam Montassir.

"J.M. would provide Defendant Rose Marks with large sums of money, after Defendant Rose Marks assured her that the money was a sacrifice, not a payment, and promised that the money would be returned," according to the indictment. The money was never returned.

"It's not an easy road. After a while, [the victims] start to sense that something's not right and then when law enforcement comes along, they realize something really is wrong," Stack said. "All of the victims in the end will say, 'I can't believe I fell for this.'"

Stack said part of the problem is that many of victims made civil complaints, but many police officers think that if no one puts a gun to your head, it's not a crime.

"No one put a gun to Bernie Madoff's victims," Stack said referring to the investment banker convicted of bilking millions of dollars from clients. "I don't care how gullible the victim is. A con is a con."

As the investigation continues, Stack is looking forward to the trial. He hopes that all of the victims get to say their piece.

"They all deserve their moments," Stack said. "Every one of these victims are willing to march into court and testify."

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