Fortune tellers are sort of like the con-artist version of the website Significant Objects—the more interesting the story, the higher the price you can fetch for an otherwise cheap piece of crap. Unless, of course, the police arrest you for “fraudulent accosting” at the mall and ruin your con.
According to GazetteOnline, a 22-year-old woman was arrested last Friday in a mall in Lake Grove, New York, for trying to sell a teenager a magic stone and some miraculous body wash for $1,250. The woman had approached the teen a few days before at the mall and offered to read her fortune for $25, which she then upsold to a $100 “in depth” reading. Two days later, she met up with the teen again to warn her that she was cursed and should buy the stone and body wash. The teen paid $600 for the objects and agreed to come back in two days time with the remaining $650.
Instead, the teen went to the police, who arrested the woman and charged her with fraudulent accosting, fortune telling, and attempted grand larceny. Which is weird, because we’re fairly sure Axe Shower Kits—which sell for nearly the same amount—use pretty much the same argument to convince teenage boys to hand over their money.
We bet you’re wondering what we wondered: holy frak, you can get arrested for pretending to accost someone when you have no intention of following through on it?!! Does that mean you can get arrested for bailing on a handshake and saying “Psyche!”? But no, that’s not what it means in New York Penal Law:
A person is guilty of fraudulent accosting when he accosts a person in a public place with intent to defraud him of money or other property by means of a trick, swindle or confidence game.
“Woman at NY mall charged in curse scam; Offered to get rid of it for $1,250” [GazetteOnline] (Thanks to David!)