Housewives, entrepreneurs and pensioners all fell fortune to her charm. The tarot card reader offered her services exclusively via telephone, although the clients often ended up sending five digit euro figures by check, to her bank accounts and by postal transfer.
She advertized for clients in newspapers, TV stations and across northern Italy and ran call centres with at least 10 employees.
Fortune seekers would call her through the 899 hotline, which allows the authorities to trace revenue. The call centre operators would then identify vulnerable clients, those they considered most likely to make large payments, and invite them to call the tarot card reader on her personal number – at a studio in Perugia, central Italy – to avoid “the hassle of time-based phone pricing”.
Once the trust of the client had been obtained, further fortune consultation services would be offered which often led to them making transfers to the fortune teller's personal account of hundreds of thousands of euro.
The accused also sold amulet bracelets inscribed with 'work finder' for €200 or “a year of economic security” for €300 per month.
One housewife reportedly paid the fortune teller a total of €300,000; a man “afflicted by emotional issues” made payments adding up to €240,000.
The fortune teller declared €300,000 per year but made €1 million extra off the books. She made €4 million in undeclared revenue in four years, according to a report by Italy's financial crime unit, the Guardia di Finanza (GdF).
The tarot card reader preyed on the most emotionally vulnerable. The GdF were able to ascertain that numerous people paid between €60,000 and €70,000, mainly in cases where they were trying to win back a loved one.
The GdF's investigations found six companies and two pieces of real estate linked to the tarot card business.