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Miss Cleo's Psychic Hotline

Miss Cleo (and her psychic hotline) turned out to be a scam. Florida attorney general Bob Butterworth mimics her style as he announces his intent to file suit against the company.

­AP Photo/Phil Coale

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­The questionable psychic with the dubious Jamaican accent was queen of the infomercial circuit back in the late 1990s, when she enticed viewers to call her 900 number and pay $4.99 a minute for a glimpse of their future. Her seemingly exotic perso­na and offers of a "free readin'" generated plenty of calls, until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Florida's attorney general cracked down on the hotline's owner, Access Resource Services, for making false advertising claims. After paying $500 million back to customers and forking over a $5 million fine to the FTC, the psychic hotline was out of business. But who was Miss Cleo really? Investigators uncovered a birth certificate revealing that this supposed shaman from the Caribbean was actually actress Youree Dell Harris, born in the far less exotic locale of Los Angeles, Calif. [source: The Smoking Gun]. Wonder whether Miss Cleo ever predicted how far she'd fall?

 

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