People understood the agony of those who trusted epic Ponzi schemers Scott Rothstein and Bernie Madoff, Stack said.
In many ways, Marks’ victims were more sympathetic. Unlike those who fell prey to Rothstein or Madoff, the psychic’s clients weren’t looking for money. “In this case, the victims were praying for hope, and hope is the unwavering belief in the unseen,” Stack said.
Stack, who said he understood why Marks’ family lashed out at him, is a hero to the victims, including best-selling romance novelist Jude Deveraux. He befriended the writer, helping her get over the shock of learning that her nearly 20-year relationship with Marks was a sham and she was unlikely to ever recover the $20 million she had given the psychic “to cleanse.”
“I’m glad she’s going to be taken off the streets and out of the business and she won’t hurt anyone else,” said Deveraux, 66, who splits her time between New York City and Southwest Ranches near Fort Lauderdale.
Deanna Wolfe, who lost nearly $1 million during her three-decade relationship with Marks, expressed mixed feelings about the verdict. “I don’t know if she started out meaning to do this or if the greed and the money just took over,” said Wolfe, 72, who lives in Virginia. “It’s a sad thing for everyone involved, including her family.”
Deveraux, who sought Marks’ help to deal with an abusive husband and the death of an 8-year-old son in a 2005 ATV accident, expressed no such ambivalence. “It was never a friendship,” she said. “There’s no sadness. None.”
Unlike other victims, she said she doesn’t care if she gets back any of the money she lost. Wolfe, who ran up huge credit card debts and borrowed money from a wealthy friend, said she is hopeful some of the money will be returned.