Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Janet Adams plead “no contest” to charges of fraud. BAS reported the self-described psychic’s arrest in December, 2008.

Adams originally plead not guilty, but prosecutors threatened to add fraud charges on behalf of two other victims, and Adams agreed to accept a jail term of up to six years and to make restitution to all three victims. The case filed against her involved an elderly woman who gave Adams $80,330 based on promises that it would keep the victim’s husband from dying, and would avert harm to other people.

According to the Oakland Tribune:

A number of victims approached police after Adams’ Dec. 18 arrest, but prosecutors could only press charges in cases with “intrinsic fraud,” [San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve] Wagstaffe said.

“When you get a quid pro quo ??? ‘your husband will die if you don’t give me money,’ what she’s saying is, ‘I will prevent it from happening,’ and that’s the falsehood,” Wagstaffe said. “She can’t prevent the husband from dying in two weeks unless she has some powers we don’t know about.”

If that was the case, “she probably wouldn’t have pleaded no contest,” Wagstaffe added.

Robert Byers, Adams’ attorney, took a less skeptical attitude, saying Adams changed her plea because “she wanted to take responsibility for her actions.”

“She feels bad for the harm she has caused,” Byers said. “She’s upset that she has kind of dragged other fortune tellers through the mud, and their names were hurt.”

Adams previously spent two years in jail and paid $22,000 in restitution for fraud while telling fortunes at the Half Moon Bay pumpkin fair.

According to the Tribune:

Dianna Czellecz, one of the women who went to police after Adams’ arrest, said the psychic took at least $1,000 from her while she battled alcoholism last year.

Czellecz said news of Adams’ plea gave her “the chills in a good way.

“I’m going to have a really good weekend now,” Czellecz said. “She so deserves it.”

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