On a misty may morning, federal agents have a premonition. Two psychics they've been tracking for months are getting ready to run. Their bags were packed at the door. Reporter: It's time to move in.... See More
On a misty may morning, federal agents have a premonition. Two psychics they've been tracking for months are getting ready to run. Their bags were packed at the door. Reporter: It's time to move in. Did you have any idea they were about to get busted? None. Reporter: The location -- this small business. A mother-daughter duo running a psychic shop. Ten bucks a hand. But in reality they're been running a high-stakes con job, for a decade. One million dollars turned into two million dollars into four million dollars. I've never worked anything like this in my career and I don't expect to again. Reporter: Their target doesn't even realize he's been had. Doesn't even realize he's bought them fancy cars, luxury homes, and five-star vacations. He was led to believe a fantasy. Reporter: A fantasy that ended up fleecing him. Costing him everything he had. Law enforcement calls it "The sweetheart swindle." A sweet deal for the swindlers. Ciao! It was like they won the powerball. Reporter: Tonight -- we'll take you inside this all-time classic con. This is one of the craziest cases I've ever seen. Reporter: A long, strange trip stretching from the pacific northwest to Las Vegas and the capitals of Europe. A game of deceit and double dealing starring a mild-mannered millionaire who went looking for love in all the wrong places. Can you just spare us a minute? No, I've been told I'm not to talk. Reporter: A criminal genius with a grade school education. A mysterious stranger with a deep dark secret. This wig, this watch, and a baby named Giorgio Armani. Hi! Giorgio Armani, it is an unusual name. It tells you about what they had on their mind, what was important to them when that child was born. Crazy. Reporter: Get comfortable, it's going to be a wild ride. Oh yeah, the casino royal baby! Good evening. How many have you have wanted advice about your life and thought about going to a psychic for help? They say they see a bright future for you, but it's a scam. It's called a sweetheart scam, but it turns out, watch what happens to this fortune in that crystal ball. Here's David Wright. Reporter: Imagine you are all alone in the world, living deep in the woods. No spouse. No children. No close friends to confide in. Nobody. But maybe an elderly parent, who's always been hard on you. And his father ignored him. He didn't put much stock in him. He wasn't good enough. Didn't measure up. Reporter: That was the life of Ralph Raines, Jr., a lonely bachelor from Gaston, Oregon -- population 660. He grew up on the family tree farm, an only child. When it came to people, Ralph Raines was lost in the woods. How would you describe him? He's different. Socially inept and gullible. That was Ralph. He -- there's no ability to understand the Normal social dynamics. Reporter: Marlene Olson has known the Raines family since many of these trees were seedlings. He's more comfortable with trees than people? Yes. That's actually a very good way to put it. This tree is about 5 to 6 years old. Reporter: The trees were not only his friends. They were his fortune too. The Raines tree farm, planted by his father, Ralph Sr. Douglas firs destined to be turned into telephone poles, each mature tree worth about $1,000. The Raines family had 1,200 acres of them, a lush, sustainable cash machine. What you're seeing out here is a lot of hard work. Hard dirty work. A tree farm is intended to go on for many generations. It's a habitat. It's an investment for a lifetime. Many lifetimes. This here is a wild strawberry plant. Reporter: Clearly, Ralph Raines was more into greenery than greenbacks. It's not even clear he knew how rich he was. But he wasn't totally down to Earth. I am interested in the paranormal. Reporter: He loved psychics. So when a psychic named Rachel lee opened a new palm Reading shop in bend, Ralph paid her a visit. It was at that point they began to develop a relationship. Reporter: Donna brecker Maddux is a federal prosecutor. She says that meeting would change Ralph's life. Did she have any clue at that point how rich this guy was? He began to share with Rachel his best-kept secrets, and they also related to his father's wealth and to the work on the tree farm. Reporter: So once he starts to unburden himself, she presumably starts to realize this is somebody -- this is the powerball ticket. That's the hook, yeah. Reporter: Rachel also reveals a lot about herself to Ralph, says she too is alone in the world. She lost her parents, and had cared for her husband as he died of cancer. And that creates a sense of empathy. Reporter: Bob Nygaard is a private investigator who has solved sweetheart swindle cases all over the world. They learned all about him, and then they specifically took what he told them to use it against him. They preyed upon him. Reporter: Rachel convinces Ralph that her psychic abilities can help him get want he craves most -- companionship, a family. And now the trap is set. The number one route to fraud is to become your best friend. "I'm the only one that's going to listen to you. I'm the only one that's going to talk to you, so pretty soon I'm the only one you're going to trust. And anything I tell you, you will believe." Reporter: Rachel has the patience of a tree. She spends the next two years grooming her mark, becoming his closest friend and confidante. When the sweetheart swindler comes into their life, they're giving them the attention that they've been sorely missing. Reporter: Soon, he's buying her gifts -- and writing her checks. Along the way, she introduces Ralph to someone new -- a guy named blancey. Blancey, how does he come into the picture? Blancey lee was Rachel lee's, on-again, off-again boyfriend. Blancey held himself out as someone who could do home construction projects. And did a few home construction projects. Reporter: He fixed the deck, right? He fixed the deck. Reporter: Blancey and Rachel come from California, and until now, appear to be living a middle-class life off of Rachel's earnings as a psychic. But two years into the con, things really begin to escalate. Rachel, who has established herself as an authority on bookkeeping and personal finance, convinces Ralph to purchase this 4,600 square foot house, a 4-bedroom Tudor in an exclusive suburb of Portland. Price tag -- $915,000. A home he will never live in. What was the reason that they bought this home? Rachel lee at the time led Ralph Raines Jr. To believe that if he purchased this home it would be a good investment for him in the long run. She also let him know that it could be a place for her and some of her family members to live while they waited to sell it. Reporter: So while Ralph and his aging father stay in the aging properties on the tree farm, Rachel moves into the sparkling new home with her kids. Among them, her devoted daughter Porsha. And she would have done anything to stay in her mother's good graces. Reporter: Just how much she'd be willing to do will be apparent later. Then, a turning point -- Ralph Sr. Suffers a debilitating stroke. From now on, he'll need 24-hour care. Rachel seizes the moment, and volunteers to take care of him. She weaseled her way into the residence as a caretaker. But she did a lot more taking than she did caring. Reporter: By now, Ralph Jr. Was in the habit of saying yes to anything Rachel said. But this particular decision will cost him dearly. She evidently had access to the books and conversation and the whole bit. Reporter: In Ralph's mind, life is as good as it's ever been. His father has a caretaker. The house has a handyman. And he has a friend, someone who can help him shoulder the burden of the family business, someone in whom he can confide all his secrets. The only thing missing -- the thing he wants most of all -- is a family, a wife and child. And that's just what Rachel intends to give him. Happy birthday. She created a fake world for him, designed to exactly meet all the desires and wishes that he ever wanted to have. Reporter: In exchange, she'll get to live the life she always dreamed of. We'll be in Florence tomorrow.
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