Boulder's Becky Ann Lee is a self-proclaimed psychic. But she apparently wasn't able to foresee what would happen to her after she bilked an heiress to the LaCoste clothing fortune out of more than $232,000.
Granted, the book thrown at Lee could have been heavier: After pleading guilty to theft of between $100,000 and $1 million earlier this week, she wasn't sentenced to any jail time — a tribute, no doubt, to the acknowledged skill of her attorney, Harvey Steinberg, who's gotten more Denver Broncos out of trouble than anyone else in team history. But she has been ordered to pay back all the money she got out of Victoria LaCoste in a scheme of such dopey douchebaggery that she more than deserves to be named our latest Schmuck of the Week.
Lee ran Boulder's Psychic Chakra Spa, which she touted on her Facebook page in the following hashtag bonanza:
Come experience a true psychic! I have been a psychic for 16 years. I have amazing accuracy. 97% In all matters of life #Love #relationship #friends #family #career #finance #health and well-being! I have amaze thousands over the years. Come in today at the Psychic Chakra Spamention this post get 25% off of any reading. don't miss out! 1909 Broadway ST #100. Boulder CO 80302 #psychic #psychics #tarotcardreading #palmreader #chakra #chakras #7chakras #chankrabalancing #spiritual #energy #aurareading #crystals #lovespells #past #present #future
Such pitches apparently proved persuasive to Victoria LaCoste, whose family's riches were derived from the LaCoste clothing empire — the duds known for that "adorable" alligator logo.
Back in 2014, when Victoria was a student at CU Boulder, she reportedly stopped into the Psychic Chakra Spa for a tarot-card reading, and she and Lee clicked. According to investigators with the Boulder Police Department, Victoria subsequently hired Lee to rid her body of "evil spirits," and along the way, the two women became friends. A detective speaking at a February 2016 hearing quotes Ms. LaCoste as referring to Lee as her "mother in Colorado."
But Lee didn't behave in an especially motherly fashion. Over the next year, prosecutors say Lee convinced Victoria to give her a huge pile of cash in order to purchase gold coins for use in assorted rituals intended to purify her being and balance her chakras.
As noted by testimony at the aforementioned hearing, Victoria wasn't initially ready to turn on Lee even after police got involved.
She changed her mind, though, after investigators showed her receipts confirming that Lee and her husband had pawned twenty of the coins, collecting $143,000 in the process.
In court last year, Steinberg maintained that Lee was a longtime coin seller and Victoria had known what was going on. "Just because you have a rich and powerful family on one side, who seems to be able to push the Boulder Police Department to do whatever they want, that’s not enough," he said.
Nonetheless, Lee eventually gave up the fight, and on Monday, as noted by the Boulder Daily Camera, she was sentenced to ten years of economic-crimes probation and ordered to refund Victoria precisely $232,667.
That may not be an impossibility for Lee. The Boulder County District Attorney's Office says she's already forked over $75,000, with another $25,000 due by the end of the month.
Coming up with the rest will require plenty of psychic powers. Here's a look at Lee's booking photo.