Last summer a phalanx of cop cars lined up at Psychic Readings by Catherine on U.S. 29 and closed one lane of traffic. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement led the June 14 search warrant execution, removed four cars, and left a lot of locals wondering what was up.
No charges have been filed in that case, and nearly eight months later, Ron Huber in the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment, saying the investigation is ongoing.
According to the search warrant, Donnie Marks and Sandra Marks ran the business at 4621 Seminole Trail. Special Agent Larry Cosme alleged the couple attempted to defraud clients, and that Sandra Marks, using the name Catherine, claimed to be a clairvoyant who could see the past and future, as well as curses and “dark clouds.”
The couple would offer services to walk-in clients, “some of whom would be suffering from emotional distress and mental disorders, who had recently gone through personal traumatic events in their lives and/or who were emotionally vulnerable, fragile and/or gullible,” said the warrant.
Sandra Marks would offer to help remove curses to restore harmony to the victim’s life, but the victim would need to “sacrifice” cash, jewelry or property for her to do so, according to the warrant. The money and property would be buried in a box and “cleansed,” and then returned to the victim once the dark cloud was removed, said the warrant.
In 2003, a confidential witness was told she needed $38,000 to get rid of the “dark energy” surrounding her spirit, according to the warrant. She gave Marks $23,000, and Marks said she would use $15,000 of her own money from a second mortgage on a home in Savannah to have enough to appease the dark energy. The witness contacted Albemarle police when Marks didn’t return the money. When threatened with legal action, claimed the warrant, Donnie Marks returned the money.
Ten years later in 2013, Sandra Marks saw a dark energy around another confidential witness who had recently received a large inheritance, and Marks told her she’d need $180,000 to get rid of it, according to the warrant. The witness gave Marks $110,000, which the Markses deposited and spent almost immediately, including $17,100 for a 1968 Camaro purchased by Donnie Marks, said the warrant.
During the raid, agents hauled away a 2014 black GMC Sierra pickup, a 2013 black Hyundai Genesis, a 2012 white Ford Mustang, and a 1968 red convertible Corvette.
C-VILLE was unable to locate Donnie Marks, who is scheduled to be in Albemarle General District Court February 12 on failure to appear charges. According to online address records, psychics named Sandra Marks live in Laveen, Arizona, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, and when contacted, family members said they have never lived in Charlottesville.