"Miss Cleo" Scam

Goals

To find the maximum of information on an scam known as "Miss Cleo" perpetraded by Youree Dell Harris aka Miss Cleo and her accomplices Peter Stolz and Steven Feder,to be used on a podcast. These would include information about statements from victims, information about biographies of the fraudsters, eventual reasons why they started committing fraud and whether it is related to an event in their past, and the time when they became criminals.




Early Findings

  • Youree Dell Harris aka Miss Cleo, was born in Los Angeles, and worked as an actress and playwright in Seattle, before starring in a psychic TV show.
  • In Seattle, she took part in three plays that took place at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center.
  • She was hired by the Psychic Readers Network in 1997, whilst she was struggling as an actress in Seattle.
  • After having been hired by the Psychic Readers Network, and to avoid paying her theatre crews, she lied to them by pretending to have bone cancer.
  • She claimed that the company that employed her as a TV psychic, Access Resource Services, wanter her to hide this personal past and to pretend she was an immigrant from Jamaica.
  • She used a fake Jamaican accent in her TV show.
  • The name Miss Cleo comes from one of her plays called "For Women Only", that opened in Seattle in 1996, in which she played a Jamaican character called Miss Cleo.
  • Youree Dell Harris then claimed that the company Access Resource Services exploited people on the show, paying them around 14 cents a minute for each call, whilst she earnt 24 cents a minute.
  • According to her, the owners of the company that produced the show forced her to play a role, and did not compensate her for the hardship caused.
  • She did not own a stake in the companies performing the scams and was a paid employee pretending to play a Jamaican psychic.
  • Steve Larry Feder and Peter Stolz are the owners of the companies Access Resource Services and Psychic Readers Network, who defrauded callers.
  • Steven Feder was responsible for managing daily operations at the firms.
  • Steven Feder, a wealthy Florida-based businessman started the psychic network business with his cousin Peter Stolz, before hiring Youree.
  • The cousins are originally from New Jersey.
  • Initially, Steven Feder and Peter Stolz recruited qualified psychics, but when they were faced with a massive influx of consumer calls, they resorted to subcontract the recruitment of "readers", often resorting to employ people with no psychic experience at all.
  • Part of the scam devised by Steven Feder and Peter Stolz involved keeping callers on line as long as possible as well as leaving them on hold for a long time, whilst being charged for it.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We propose to find insights on an scam led by cousins Peter Stolz and Steven Feder, who owned the companies Access Resource Services and Psychic Readers Network, and employed Youree Dell Harris as "Miss Cleo", a fake psychic. These would include information about statements from victims, information about biographies of the 3 fraudsters, eventual reasons why they started committing fraud and whether it is related to an event in their past, and the time when they became criminals. It would also include information about how the team of fraudsters worked together to commit their acts. These details would be used as material for a podcast on American Fraudsters.