Niall Rice, a 33-year-old Internet consultant, is unenviable in many ways. He has a substance abuse problem, and he lost Michelle, the fabulous woman he met in a rehab clinic, to a drug overdose. She could have been the one, he says.
But the reason you’re reading about Rice today is because he took his sorrows to two “psychics,” Priscilla Kelly Delmaro (a.k.a. Christina) and a woman named Brandy (no last name given). They promptly started robbing him blind, Rice claims. According to a legal complaint he filed, the women relieved him of $718,000. At one point, he agreed to buy Brandy a $40,000 Tiffany’s ring “to ward off evil spirits.”
“I just got sucked in,” [he] said. … “That’s what people don’t understand. ‘How can you fall for it?’”
It sounds like he still doesn’t understand it — and neither, most likely, does anyone else. I really don’t want to kick a man while he’s down, but Rice’s gullibility is something to behold.
[He] paid Christina $90,000 that she said was needed to build a bridge of gold in another dimension to trick an evil spirit that was haunting Michelle.
When, one day, he called her to say he had just learned that Michelle was dead,
“Christina said, ‘Don’t believe it,’” he said. “‘If you believe it, it’s true.’ ” She said she could help get Michelle back — a reincarnated Michelle, a new Michelle. … Christina emailed him constantly about visions she had of a new Michelle: “‘I just saw someone in the supermarket; it might have been her.’”
With uncommon callousness, Priscilla “Christina” Delmaro slowly bled Rice dry, the complaint charges.
He lost his apartment in Manhattan and sold his BMW, expensive watch and laptop. He asked his father for a few thousand dollars. Now, he said, he is barely making his rent payments of $500.
The most puzzling passage in the New York Times story is this:
“It wasn’t like saying, ‘Give me 10 grand and I’ll tie your shoelaces,’” [Rice] said. “There’s a half truth in there, there’s something in it. This whole psychic scam is based on them knowing what’s going on in your life. They have a gift.”
A gift for scamming, I hope he means — not a gift for truth-telling, much less contacting the deceased.
Delmaro has been charged with grand larceny and faces a year in jail. It’s unlikely that Niall Rice will ever see his money back.
(Image via Shutterstock)