"Miss Cleo" Scandal
Steven Feder and Peter Stolz were cousins involved in significant criminal activity between the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Both men met Miss Cleo in 1999 when they hired her to develop a multi-million dollar business. Hence, Miss Cleo was a major part of their fraudulent activities. The attached document outlines these findings.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
- Steven Feder (age 52 in 2002), and Peter Stolz, (age 54 in 2002), were the two cousins involved in the Miss Cleo scam.
- Feder was a wealthy businessman and Stolz owned several telemarketing companies in Florida. These companies include Access Resource Services Inc and its parent company Psychic Readers Network.
- Both men built the network from the ground up, with Feder being in charge of the daily operations and the first involved.
- In 1993, the two men began their Florida corporation with the launch of the esteemed Psychic Advisors Network, which soon after became the Psychic Readers Network (PRN). Then in 1994, they launched the Professional Advisors Network.
- Soon after their launch, the accusations that they were delivering false and “worthless” advice began.
- As they were building the fraudulent network from the ground up, Stolz and Feder discovered “Miss Cleo” in 1999. They hired her hoping to develop a multi-million dollar business.
- They began advertising free over the phone consultation with “Miss Cleo.” Being an actress from Los Angeles, she pretended to be a Jamaican psychic.
- Feder and Stolz then hired in-house psychics, who were supposedly qualified to take the increased number of calls and work from home.
- Although these calls were advertised as free, people were strategically pointed towards charged calls after they got through to the hotline. .
- Persons manning the phone lines were expected to drag out the time, with the fake notion of customers not being charged while placed on hold.
- They ensured that the people manning the phone lines dragged out the time, with the fake notion of customers not being charged while placed on hold.
In conducting this research, we visited news websites, expert blog sites, and business review websites such as Crunchbase, Craft, and Bloomberg. Most news articles found that spoke about the topic were from 2002. News websites such as The New York Times, New Times, Seattle Pi, and the Sun Sentinel gave us an inside look into the case and the “scammers” involved. The Sun Sentinel provided an idea of how Feder and Stolz went about the operation and their plan in hiring “Miss Cleo”. The New Times provided us with a detailed description of the fraudulent past of the two men.
Blog sites such as Psychic Review Online described the entire case. It also describes the plan Feder and Stolz had when they discovered and began working with “Miss Cleo.” Other blog sites such as Refinery 29, described some experiences of so-called previous employees of the network. We used business review websites to find the companies involved, but we could not provide current information on most of these companies, since many of them were closed. We only found Circle of Light, Oshun 5 Communications, and Mind & Spirit to still be in operation.
Current information about the two men was difficult to find as the depositions and other court documents surrounding the case were not open for public viewing. We could only gather some information on who they are. Our next attempt was to research the businesses they owned. We examined news websites including CNN, CBS, and the Sun Sentinel but only unearthed some information on their scam. None of the various searched articles pointed us towards bigger intel on their reasoning outside of making a multi-million dollar network. We also could not determine the reason Stolz followed Feder into this crime.