WOODLAND HILLS—Melissa Lori Lee, 28, of Woodland Hills who operated a fortune teller and psychic business admitted in court to stealing thousands of dollars from her clients, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reported.
According to a press release from the LADA’s Office, Deputy District Attorney Natalie Schachner indicated that Lee pleaded no contest in court on Wednesday, August 2 to one felony count of grand theft and agreed to pay restitution to the eight victims named in case LA085186.
Lee made an initial $20,000 restitution payment after entering the plea. Sentencing is scheduled for February 8, 2018 in Department 122 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch. She could face anywhere from one year and four months in state prison to three years of formal probation. The amount of prison time will depend on the restitution amounts paid before sentencing.
Lee stole more than $200,000 from January 2014 to June 2015 from clients, the prosecutor noted. The eight victims were clients of the fortune telling business located on the 5200 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
The defendant convinced victims who were dealing with significant hardships to give her the money on the pretense that they would be receiving their money back once Lee’s spiritual “work” was done, the prosecutor said. After months passed, the victims asked for their money back, but Lee stopped returning their texts and phone calls.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, Topanga Station.