Aura-changer faces felony fraud count
A self-proclaimed psychic who accepted gifts and money to cure customers' bad auras didn't predict getting caught, police said.

Elaine Lee of Utica was arraigned Tuesday in 41A District Court in Shelby Township and charged with obtaining more than $1,000 under false pretenses, a felony. She also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of obtaining money under false pretenses. Conviction on all counts could lead to more than six years in prison.

Utica Police Sgt. Dave Faber said the charges relate to Lee's business, Elaine's Psychic Reading, where she diagnosed clients with bad auras or evil spirits, and asked them to fork over cash or gifts in return for a cure.

Earlier this month, a 28-year-old Warren woman paid Lee about $75 for a palm reading at Lee's establishment at Hall Road and Van Dyke, Faber said. After the reading, Lee declared she could rid the aura with more cash, but when the client said she had only a credit card with her, Lee suggested going to ABC Appliance Warehouse for a new television.

The customer received oils and candles in exchange for a $300 TV set, Faber said.

Tipped off by the woman, Utica police raided the business Nov. 11 and Lee was named in an arrest warrant the next day.

Since then, several people have complained to Utica police about Lee, including a 50-year-old Clinton Township woman who said Tuesday she sought advice from Lee last year during a difficult personal time.

Police said the woman, who asked not to be named, received a palm reading and bad news about her aura. At Lee's request, she returned with $3,350 along with a white napkin seeking a cure. "It was at a vulnerable time for me," she said. "She said 'You'll never have happiness'."

The client said Lee wrapped an egg in the napkin and placed it on the client's shoulder before setting it on the ground and asking her to step on it. The reddish-colored yoke that oozed out indicated that the unwanted spirit still existed, Lee told her.

At that point, the woman said Lee told her she needed $10,000 to buy supplies to create an altar, where she could summon spirits to fix her aura.

"I got scammed. How embarrassing," the client said, adding that she never gave Lee the $10,000, but did get a refund of $1,200 in February after she complained.