Victim Location 60654
Total money lost $400
Type of a scam Other
This business owner hides behind many different names, both for the business and for herself, but a Google search of her personal phone number (provided) links all entities together. The owner, who I know as "Grace" but later discovered through social media video evidence is truly named "Valerie Ristick" (husband, David Ristick, son, Valentino Ristick), but is alleged to have legally changed her name to a more common "Jennifer Williams" to continue her scam. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to her as "Grace," as that’s how I know her.
Grace is the owner of the store (and was the previous owner of others in California and Chicago before they were closed down), and preys on her customers using deception and intimidation, and doesn’t deliver on the services purchased.
In August 2017, I visited her store to inquire about services to connect with a friend who tragically died recently. Call me gullible or call it a lucky guess, but without any assistance from me, Grace picked up on my name and my friend’s name without any previous meeting or contact from me before this moment. I was convinced she was the real deal. Later in the session, she said I needed three additional "cleansings" and that I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it. Sensing my hesitation at the quoted price, she said she’d tell me more about my deceased friend at each of three sessions. Desperate for wanting to connect with my friend and truly believing she was the real thing upon declaring our names, I agreed to pay her $400 in cash on the spot for an additional three sessions that would be scheduled in the following weeks. Grace offered no receipt, but I do have ATM receipts, text messages to Grace, and a friend who witness that can confirm this payment.
I met with Grace for my second visit two weeks later and was scammed into purchasing a bouquet of roses that she told be would be used in the meeting to connect with my friend. The roses were not used at all, and Grace briefly spoke of my friend. Grace failed to fulfill her end of the agreement and has blocked all attempts at providing her third and fourth service which I prepaid for. I was rescheduled multiple times citing various excuses, and one time I ended up showing up at her store for an appointment but she didn’t show or respond to my call until later that day when she apologized profusely with more excuses and empty promises of a free palm reading at the next session. I told her it was fine, and we agreed to another time the following week. The day of the appointment, she asked me if we can meet later. Unfortunately I had to be at the airport for work and would be out of town for two weeks, so I just told her we’d reconnect when I was back and specified a date and time I’d like to meet with her. She never responded to that request.
Two weeks later when I got home, I sent her a text message and Grace replied saying she couldn’t meet with me for another two weeks because the tragedy in Vegas had just happened and she had people calling from all over the country for her help to connect with their loved ones. Of course, I would have had more compassion if there was any chance this was actually true. But for her schedule to have filled up for two weeks that she couldn’t fit in a session for someone who paid her $400 three months prior, it was too much for me to swallow. (Not to mention, after Googling her, I found a Groupon that had gone live that week. My assumption is she was too busy trying to drum up new business on Groupon and couldn’t care less about her commitment to me since I paid her months prior.) I outlined in full everything I paid for and the services that were still outstanding, and explained that at this point, I needed a refund of $200 for the two remaining sessions that she hadn’t given me. She denied the request for a refund but said she’d call me in a week and she could probably squeeze me in. I paid for services in August and that conversation was in October. It’s now January, and I still haven’t heard from her.
Yelp reviewers all confirm they’ve fallen victim to the same scam (some have lost THOUSANDS), and I’ve had private conversations with four other people willing to share their story, too. It’s worth noting that Grace is also posing as a man under her Yelp review where she replies as the business owner. If you navigate to the link below and view the 5/11/17 review by Sandra S., you’ll see "business owner" Jason Patel tries to clear the reputation Grace has by saying he’s the new owner of the business. If you click on Jason Patel’s profile picture, you’ll see it was stolen from a Google image search. If you look up the real Jason Patel on LinkedIn, you’ll see he’s an engineer in San Francisco and entirely disconnected from this business.
Lake Spiritual Adivsor Yelp Reviews: https://www.yelp.com/biz/lakeview-spiritual-advisor-chicago-3
Jason Patel LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-patel-075a1928