TAMPA, Fla. – Jaycee Wasso, who said she was a psychic, was found guilty in March of a strange $1 million scam. Two months later, when she was being sentenced, she hoped that things would turn out better.
Wasso told the judge in a Tampa courtroom on Friday that she knew her time as a fortuneteller was over and that she was sorry for what she had done. She also asked for forgiveness and kindness.
Wasso said, “I didn’t realize how bad what I did was, but now I see that it was selfish and wrong.”
Wasso was found guilty of taking money, gold, and expensive items from Richard Rappaport, a businessman in Tampa. Wasso had a client named Lin Halfon, who was Rappaport’s wife at the time.
In November 2019, Halfon stole more than $1 million in cash and gold after being tricked by Wasso.
“Yes I fell for it.”I’m in, hook, line, and sinker,” Rappaport said.
Rappaport, who is now 80 years old, told the jury a little over two months ago that he felt cheated, lied to, and misled. He thought the money was for buying a house in St. Petersburg and giving money to Halfon’s family in Israel, but it was all a lie.
Prosecutors said that the small wealth was going to the fortune-teller, which Rappaport said he wouldn’t have agreed to.
Halfon told the judges that Wasso needed the money and expensive things to keep bad spirits away. But Wasso soon asked for $1 million in cash to get rid of her fears.
“She said that she feels a very bad energy coming from me and that this bad energy is a curse that has been passed down from one generation to the next,” Halfon said.
Wasso told Halfon to go to an Amscot in Tampa to cash the big check, but when she got there, she was turned away twice.Wasso then asked members of his family to cash three checks totaling $1 million in New Jersey, which they did.
Police told Rappaport about the scam, and he had to tell his daughter Dayna Titus and son Brian Rappaport.
Both of them had no idea that their father was married to a woman 50 years his junior.
“I never told them, because I knew they would have disapproved,” Rappaport said.
Due to her participation in the crime, Halfon was sentenced to 13 months in jail and then deported back to Israel. But it was Wasso’s turn to find out what would happen to her.
Wasso’s mother, Mary, told the judge that it was all her fault when he got a 20-year jail term.
“I failed her very badly as a mother; she didn’t know right from wrong,” the crying mother said.
Wasso’s lawyer, Glenn Lansky, said she was raised to be a gypsy and is completely under her mother’s control. Her mother told her to get a job, he said. He said that Wasso was mistreated as a child and that her husband later beat her up.
He asked for only four years in prison.
“She was too young to know what would happen,” Lansky said.
Prosecutors wanted a much harsher term of 15 years in prison, but Tampa Judge Michael Williams thought 9 1/2 years was enough.
“We’re talking about a two-year scam that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Williams. “You saw a chance, and you took it.”
Wasso will be on probation for fifteen years after he gets out of jail. One of the rules is that she can never again use her mental abilities.