The psychic Maria Duval, born in Milan, Italy in 1938, was once the owner of Astroforce, a company that continues to legally use her name, though she has sold it. Her name was used in a mass mailing scheme to con people out of money in return for psychic favors.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice filed civil complaints against Ms. Duval, her company Destiny Research Center, and the Canadian company Infogest Direct Marketing, for sending direct mail solicitations that made false promises and misrepresentations to scam people out of money.
The letters appeared to be personalized and even had portions that appeared to be handwritten by Ms. Duval. These letters boasted about her unverifiable accomplishments, such as working with doctors and police, locating more than 20 missing persons telepathically, and having numerous celebrity clients. The letter then informed the recipient that Ms. Duval had a specific psychic vision about him, such as an opportunity to win the lottery. The letter told the recipient that in order for Ms. Duval to make her vision a reality, the recipient needed to purchase a special trinket for a discounted price. These trinkets were cheap mass-produced items the recipient paid $20 to $50 to purchase.
Even though Ms. Duval was not actually the individual writing the letters, this scam was used with her knowledge and approval, alleges the Department of Justice.