Feds now investigating Lafayette 'psychic'
Lafayette - An Eyewitness News investigation has captured the attention of federal agents. They've now obtained a search warrant to take private records from a very unusual business.
When we tried to ask Patricia Johns some questions, she drove off without saying a word. But her website speaks volumes. That's where she has claimed to be the real thing - a master psychic, clairvoyant and life coach who can unveil the past, present and future, remove dark forces and reunite loved ones.
But her clients say it's all a hoax.
"To me it's a scam," said Georgia Black, a former client.
"She is in the field of being a con artist and scamming people," said another former client.
Customers claim the psychic manipulated them into paying tens of thousands of dollars.
Our investigation prompted Lafayette Police to get involved. It triggered a cease-and-desist order from the Lafayette City Attorney to shut down her business.
Now it's prompted a federal investigation by the Social Security Administration.
A warrant obtained by 13 Investigates shows special agents have received permission to search and seize business records from the fortune teller's office located at 2119 South Street in Lafayette. Ledgers, journals, diaries, receipts, bills, bank account records, tax returns, computers, and credit card and cell phone records -- all of it is now wanted by federal agents, who claim Patricia Johns may have committed welfare fraud and theft.
A separate affidavit states Johns has been receiving supplemental Social Security income for almost a decade, but agents claim she has never reported income from her fortune telling business, Astrology Gallery, to the Social Security Administration, which could be a felony.
The affidavit and search warrant were filed last week in Tippecanoe County Superior Court, and the warrant was signed was Judge Randy Williams.
Clients told us they paid her a lot anywhere from $20,000 to $61,000.
Georgia Black says she was scammed for more than $100,000.
"That was my savings," said Black.
Since these women spoke to 13 Investigates, Patricia Johns has seemingly shut down her office and website. But that may not be enough for federal agents, who are now investigating whether the fortune teller got thousands of dollars in public assistance that she was not entitled to.
The Social Security Administration says it cannot comment on its ongoing investigation. The psychic is not talking either. We called Patricia Johns to ask some questions. Her only comment was "Stop calling me."