Sylvia Mitchell, also known as Zena, whose splendidly decorated business sits in the heart of Greenwich Village on 7th Avenue and Bleecker Street, has been caught in her own greedy net. Readers of my blog know that I have a very limited tolerance for self professed psychics who feed on the unhappiness and depression of their clients. In this case, Mitchell was convicted by a NYC jury of grand larceny and sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Interestingly, the sentence was harsher than what the prosecutors asked for. The Manhattan district attorney’s office had requested a sentence of three to nine years in prison. “You had a perfect setup,” Justice Carro said. “We have lots of con artists here in New York City.” But Ms. Mitchell lured “someone who is having some dramatic stress in their life, some great problems they were going through, looking for some kind of help,” the judge said.
She was ordered to pay more than $110,000 in restitution to the two victims in the case, something her lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz, said he came prepared to do with a check from an escrow account.
Both victims, Lee Choong and Debra Saalfield, wrote letters describing the pain caused by their dealings with Ms. Mitchell. Both had approached her during periods of romantic upheaval in their lives. Both testified against Ms. Mitchell, and in doing so, admitted that in hindsight, all her talk of curses and evil spirits seemed far-fetched, but at the time, unsettling.
Here is what I always say - if someone tells you that they can predict the future, ask them for the winning lottery numbers before you hire them. If you win, go ahead and hire them!