Canadian Fraudster Sentenced to 10 Years for Defrauding 1.3 Million Americans with Fake Psychic Claims


A Canadian con artist, Patrice Runner, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for orchestrating a massive scam that targeted over a million vulnerable Americans with false promises of wealth

and happiness by posing as a psychic.

Over the span of two decades, Runner, 57, amassed a staggering fortune exceeding $175 million by duping unsuspecting victims into sending him money through the mail with the lure of a better life.

Runner was convicted on multiple charges related to the scam, which involved sending out thousands of letters each week to Americans, falsely claiming to be personal communications from renowned "psychics" Maria Duval and Patrick Guerin.

These letters, aimed primarily at elderly and vulnerable individuals, offered promises of prosperity in exchange for payments for "astral-clairvoyant forecasts." Once victims sent money, they were inundated with additional requests and letters, forming part of a relentless scheme.

Authorities revealed that Runner operated the scam for 20 years, directing co-conspirators who managed day-to-day operations while he hid his involvement through shell companies registered in Canada and Hong Kong. Despite living abroad in various countries, Runner orchestrated the operation, leaving a trail of victims across the United States.

While denying any wrongdoing, Runner boasted of his ability to manipulate people in a 2023 interview, claiming his actions were not fraudulent but merely exploiting people's vulnerabilities.

Runner was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Despite being found guilty on most counts, he was acquitted on four charges of mail fraud.

The case sheds light on the vulnerability of individuals to scams, highlighting the importance of awareness and vigilance in protecting against such exploitation. Photo by Maklay62, Wikimedia commons.

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