Canada, 23 April, 2024 Patrice Runner, a Canadian citizen with dual nationality, has been handed a 10-year prison term for orchestrating a colossal psychic mass-mailing fraud that bilked over $175 million from unsuspecting victims across North America.

Convicted on charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as money laundering, Runner’s sentencing marks the culmination of a lengthy legal battle that began with US authorities pursuing him since 2014.

Under the guise of the renowned French psychic Maria Duval, Runner’s companies dispatched personalized letters to millions of individuals, promising wealth and happiness in exchange for fees. Targeting elderly and vulnerable demographics, recipients were coerced into sending payments for supposed psychic services, with subsequent letters demanding additional fees and personal items like locks of hair and photos for purported rituals and astrological services.

Despite his conviction, Runner maintains his innocence, arguing that dissatisfaction would prompt refund requests, deflecting accusations of fraud. However, his history includes prior convictions in Canada for similar scams, underscoring a pattern of deceptive practices.

The intricate scheme involved multiple shell companies spanning Canada and Hong Kong, aimed at obscuring Runner’s involvement. Moving frequently across various countries, he evaded authorities until his arrest in Ibiza in December 2020 and subsequent extradition to New York.

While Runner’s lavish lifestyle may have faded, his legacy of exploitation and deception leaves a lasting mark on the victims ensnared in his elaborate scheme.