Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Apology to Gypsies

Several Gypsies and "psychics" recently contacted me concerning my posts about Gypsy Psychic Scams in the Sherlock Investigations blog. The complainants said in effect that all Gypsies and/or pyschics are not criminals. To this I must wholeheartedly agree, and apologize to the Roma (Gypsy) people for implying that they are all criminals.

The Roms/Gypsies originally came to Europe from India about 1000 years ago. Now, they are found in many countries, including, of course, the United States. Romas can be found in all walks of life. Most are honest, law-abiding citizens.

I talked to an NYPD detective who was involved in "Operation Crystal Ball," a police crackdown on fraudulent psychics in New York City. He told me, "I've never see [a pyschic] with a neon sign that was legitimate." He added that only one in a hundred is a non-Gypsy. (A Roma term for a non-Gypsy is Gadje, which is considered an offensive term.)

While I really don't know whether people have psychic powers, I concur with the NYPD. I believe that all the storefront psychics, the one's with neon signs, are phoney.

In fact, fortune telling, except for entertainment purposes, is illegal in New York. While only a misdemeanor, it quickly escalates to a felony, grand larceny, when people start losing the amounts of money we see in our case files. At Sherlock Investigations we've had clients lose as much as $150,000. All of these clients started with a $10 reading from a storefront psychic.

While most people never file charges with the police, they can, and should.

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