Houston Lawyer Sues His Fortune Teller Over Marital Reunification Ritual and Money “Cleansing”

220px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Crystal_BallHouston bankruptcy and family law attorney Michael Busby Jr. has filed a rather curious lawsuit on his own behalf (and those of more than 100 people) for alleged fraud by a fortune teller. Busby claims that he gave fortune teller Melena Thorn $2,700 in a box for “cleansing” that she never returned to be part of a husband-wife reunification ritual. (The money was to be placed under the “marital bed” to bring about happier relations). Busby claims also to have paid Thorn $30 for a tarot card reading and $500 for the ritual. Many would be rather embarrassed to participate in such supernatural services, but Busby is taking Thorn to court under a claim of fraud.

In this case, Busby has a viable claim for fraud if cash was not returned, though it would be interesting to see what records exist of the transaction. Thorn says that he never gave her the money. Moreover, I am not sure why this is not a criminal case if the money was taken. Moreover, I am highly skeptical of the class action aspect since I fail to see how commonality could be maintained in such a class unless a court were to establish a chump class to fit the case.

Busby says that he has used fortune tellers to “give me an edge” in the past and wanted to use a husband-wife reunification ritual to help him in his personal life. Busby has brought claims under not just fraud but breach of contract and violation of Texas consumer law. He is seeking $1 million in damages and an injunction.

The defendants include Psychic Love Spell Center and World Psychic Solutions, both of Houston; Thorn, also known as Christine Mitchell; and Christine Nicholas, Dillon Nicholas, and Sonny Nicholas.

Thorn has site that warns “My gifts are not for the light hearted.” She does not exactly hold back in promising results:

I’ve been helping to solve impossible cases and help perform miracles through-out the world for over 28 years. Specializing in helping to reunite lovers, removal of all bad luck, bad spirits, and/or negativity in marriages, love, luck and in your home. With using ESP (Extrasensory Perception), enables me to provide my clients with all the proper answers, guidance and solutions to help all problem areas in life.

By the way, the site also features a medal as “#1 Love Spell Expert.” I am not sure of how one gets accredited for love spell but it was good enough to get Busby in the door.

Busby however is certainly under no current spells or delusions. His Complaint states that “Plaintiff will show that more than 100 people have been defrauded by this family and/or business in the last 4 years.”

We have previously discussed the prosecution of fortune tellers as well as the crackdown on sorcerers in Muslim countries. Mystics are finding themselves targeted in the United States as well in recent weeks. In New York and Florida, clairvoyants have been prosecuted for fraud and some cities and states are moving to ban soothsaying. I have been critical of these efforts as problematic under free speech and the free exercise guarantees of the Constitution. As we discussed earlier, there are many fools who are easy to part with their money. For example, well-known romance novelist Jude Deveraux paid psychic Rosa Marks about $17 million over 17 years and later testified against her in a fraud trial in Florida. She says that she was duped into believing that Marks could transfer the spirit of Deveraux’s dead 8-year-old son into another boy’s body and reunite them. Putting aside Deveraux’s willingness to use another boy for such a transfer, she is an adult who decided to pay for the supernatural service. She now says “[w]hen I look back on it now, it was outrageous. I was out of my mind.” Well, yes, yes you were, but why is that a crime because someone sold you on a fantasy? A casino can take the same amount in gambling without recourse and a church can take it on the promise that she will be rewarded in the afterlife by reuniting with her son.

The Busby case will likely come down to more mundane showings of proof that the money was handed over to the psychic and precisely what was promised. He cannot sue for any failure of reunification with his wife, though I would not expect that giving thousands of dollars to a fortune teller will improve relations. The money would constitute a straight-forward case of conversion or fraud if he can prove it. In the meantime, it is unclear how the admission of participating in such rituals will affect his practice. Most people prefer lawyers to use their skills to “given them an edge” not a fortune teller who advertises as a “severe case specialist” and “love potion expert.”

Busby’s firm bio states that he received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1996 and his J.D. from South Texas College of Law. It also stated that he “has been faithfully married for 18 years and is the proud father of two daughters, Viktoria and Hannah Busby and father of Willam Maximus “Billy Max” Busby.”

I have tried to find a copy of the complaint, but perhaps one of our Texas regulars can find it and share it with us.

Source: ABA Journal

46 thoughts on “Houston Lawyer Sues His Fortune Teller Over Marital Reunification Ritual and Money “Cleansing”

  1. Thanks, professor. My wife is researching her 3rd book on gypsy/fortune teller fraud. Her second book, Taken by Surprise, is available on Amazon. Our trip to Italy delayed getting it formatted for Kindle and Nook, but that should be out by next week.

  2. How much does she charge for Lottery number advice?

    I asked Santa to leave some winning numbers under the tree, I’d like to run them by / Thorn, also known as Christine Mitchell; and Christine Nicholas, Dillon Nicholas, and Sonny Nicholas./ just for extra assurance.

    Where do I send my money?

  3. I’m telling you folks, you would be shocked how many well educated, otherwise intelligent people, use fortune tellers.

  4. Now all can see the sad state of the legal profession in Texas that a person like this can be a member of the bar. He sounds like a good judicial candidate and we will undoubtedly put him on a bench.

  5. Was his fortune teller able to tell him that he would be discovered to be an idiot…. for believing in fortune tellers?

  6. “I agree. It would be better to just let the money go than admit to using a fortune teller.”

    No, no. This is an important case.

    You can’t stop psychics, fortune tellers, and other because of religious and speech freedoms. But you can go after them for fraud.

    This is a straightforward business suit, right? Misrepresentations, services not performed, money unaccounted for. Simple. The trial will reveal whether the claims are substantiated.

    Would a competent lawyer ever advise a client (even another lawyer) to not file claims against a contractor for missing deposit money, for work not completed, or for inadequate performance?

  7. Question for the professor. Can you sue… for being stupid? And then getting taken in by a ‘Fortune teller’? How did this guy get through Law School?

  8. If Reagan could admit to consulting an astrologer why should this lawyer feel ashamed to admit his belief in this. I don’t get how any intelligent person can rely on these shenanigans and buy into their promises but some folks need magic to help them through the day.

  9. “(The money was to be placed under the “marital bed” to bring about happier relations)”

    These days how much happiness can anyone reasonably expect for a mere $2700?

    In distinct cases with some similarities, rumors suggest Eliot Spitzer and David Vitter spent upwards of $5000 an hour for happier relations and received fleeting if any happiness at all.

    I hesitate to draw a moral to this story. But if relations are not happy, perhaps one should just consider saving the money and moving on.

  10. I don’t like fortune tellers and I believe they are all frauds. If Busby’s claim is correct then fhe did commit fraud by not delivering the services he contracted for. However, he is an idiot for believing she could assist him in the first place.

  11. leejcaroll; Was it not Nancy Reagan who made regular use of a certain astrologer? She may have influenced Ronny based on her astrological insight, but I doubt Ronny was directly involved. At least I hope not. The man’s eggs were plenty scrambled to begin with.

  12. Dan

    One has to consider the damage to one’s goodwill as a business. The attorney in the article indicated he was a client of the fortune teller. Sure he could go after the fortune teller for an alleged fraud, yet look at the comments here on this blog and expand on now how this has gone viral on the internet. Many are going to believe this lawyer is an idiot and a fool for going to the fortune teller in the first place and his credibility hence is shot. It doesn’t bode well for attracting future clients.

  13. “Many would be rather embarrassed to participate in such supernatural services …” -JT

    Perhaps several people came to him, so he did some sniffing around for them by trying it to infiltrate the joint on behalf of his clients?

    IOW his participation was for the purpose of investigating prior to litigating?

    Just sayin’ …

  14. At least we know this lawyer is not completely stupid since he realized that he could not advance in his profession or life without supernatural help and could not rely on his own abilities. I am sure that he did not have the wit to get a signed receipt after handing over the money that he proffered for blessing. So all he is left with is his not very good word that there was actually money in the box to start with. Thus he has NO proof of the deal, thus no case.

  15. “So all he is left with is his not very good word that there was actually money in the box to start with. Thus he has NO proof of the deal, thus no case.”

    You have already acknowledged we are discussing supernatural processes. It is not clear to me that supernatural processes rely on physical activity or entities such as receipts.

    I would argue that traditional proof of supernatural processes include many different signs usually but not always recognized by both laymen and practitioners alike.

    I would guess the plaintiff might easily win his case with any number of manifestations such as brief forceful wind, distant sound, lightening, unusual color of the moon, or various formations in the entrails of formerly living creatures – any of which a jury might find compelling.

    The simplest outcome might be to hire an expert witness to force a confession by placing pins in an image of the accused.

    We are, after all, dealing with the supernatural.

  16. I hope, leej, Ronny was just unwilling to throw Nancy under the Astrology Bus. I mean can you imagine her mad face? The article is more about Nancy and astrology than Ronny.

  17. People do silly things for love, or at least better marital relations. It’s easy to laugh but who among us has not looked for love (or better relations of a semi, kind’a martial sort) in all the wrong places at least once? LOL I’m just glad I mis-spent my youth + a few years before the internet could make us all famous.

  18. “or better relations of a semi, kind’a martial sort”

    lottakatz,

    I’m guessin’ that “martial” should be “marital” (:

  19. AP, LOL, yes. But marital can end up martial more easily than one might suspect as anyone that has dealt with a divorce may know.:-)

  20. lottakatz, I hate to admit that my mind went in a completely different direction (: but “oh yeah” about the whole divorce thing. (Thanks for the laugh.)

  21. Thank you all for your criticism and words of encouragement. I see the learned professor has a colorful following. But how is it that so many can be non-believers when you give predictions about future events? I am going to be a judge? The learned professor has not read the complaint, nor is there any evidence he has studied Texas law but but can give a “educated” opinion about the possibility of future events? Yes, I have become more superstitious in the last 2 years. I got through law school by keeping my noise in the books and studying. I have no political ambitions, thus no plans to be judge and did not set up the psychic for a lawsuit.

    Happy Holidays to the professors flock.

    Mike Busby

  22. I know here in Florida there are very strict fraud laws the biggest being “implied merchantability”. No matter what you believe or don’t believe you can be a victim of fraud. I’m sure lots of lawyers pray before they go to trial as well. How is this different? Like the Bud Light commercial says, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work”. Maybe it works for him… jmo

  23. Mr. Busby:

    I am curious. In the link you provided of the BBB website where it shows this business received an F rating why did you chose to participate in their servies?

  24. BBB is such an old tool. Social media is what people really use to review a company. Yelp, Avvo, Google+, Facebook, Angie’s list etc.. I don’t see much else out there for these guys but they use so many names how do you nail down the review that will either scare you or close you on the service? Who knows? The bottom line is that this lawyer looks pretty clean and the company does not… I know who I believe.

  25. From wiki.
    Schadenfreude Listeni/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/ (German: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə]) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1] This word is a loanword from German. The literal English translation is ‘Harm-Joy’. It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune. It is also borrowed by some other languages.

    There is no one here that is perfect.

    It took me 30 years to figure out there are no “Gods of Gambling”.
    I appealed to them often, and was denied their fortune smiles many times more than “Blessed” by them. …… My devotion blinded me to the futility, the waste, of time and effort I piddled away.

    Beware your choice of Gods and Poison, they are most disguised by ourselves.

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  27. The court of public opinion has convened based on a three paragraph article and one 45 second interview. To the reader of the comments, sound bites based cliff notes is what you see. I have posted the work up of the case, updates, logistics and the complaint http://busby-lee.com/familylawblog/houston-lawyer-busby-sues-fortune-teller/ . The business is believed to have both California and Texas offices. The suit is currently active in Texas State court and if you are a resident of California, I may be able to help. Texas and Houston residents, I have stuck my chin out there and they are taking swings at me. If you need help with this family, now is the time to come forward.

  28. The central weakness in this case is damages. How can damages be reasonably and reliably be measured? Mere dissatisfaction with the defendants’ fortune telling services or complaints with the BBB do not comport with the rigorous standards that must be met to fairly calculate damages in a class action.

  29. Your style is so unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from.

    Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess
    I will just bookmark this page.

  30. I think the point he’s trying to get across is that if they took advantage of him in an emotional state of mind believing something good would come of it and soon realized there nothing but scam artist preying on the emotionally weak minded then how many other people have become victims

  31. As a professional tarot card reader, I am highly skeptic of fellow psychics who charge hundreds of dollars for curse removals or rituals. And because I never want anyone to ever accuse me of taking their money and running (which I would never do), I ask for all my transactions to take place via check, credit card, money order or paypal. And if I ever refund any money, I make sure that I issue a check so that there is a money trail.

    There are a lot of shady psychics out there, so it’s important to protect yourself. ALWAYS leave a money trail, and if your psychic is telling you something that feels bizarre (i.e.: you have a 3rd generation curse that can only be removed through at $1,200 ritual), then get a different opinion.

    In my opinion, Psychics and light workers are here to help people work through their issues and problems. We are here to encourage and provide direction. It saddens me that so many frauds and talented individuals abuse the spiritual industry, because it truly does give the rest of us a bad name.

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