Psychic accused of defrauding young wife out of rich husband's money may have had family help, lawyer says
TAMPA, Fla. - A young bride and a self-proclaimed psychic have been accused of conning $1 million from the bride’s 78-year-old husband back in 2017.
The bride, Lin Halfon, was being told by her psychic, Jaycee Wasso, that horrible things would happen to her if she did not get large amounts of money from her husband, Richard Rappaport. Halfon would take checks from Rappaport’s account and cash them in Tampa and New Jersey, and then hand over the money to Wasso.
Halfon eventually convinced her husband to sign over a $1 million cashier’s check, which she tried to cash at an Amscot in Tampa. That’s when the scheme fell apart.
Halfon spent 13 months in jail before and during her trial. She pleaded guilty to exploitation of the elderly and organized fraud, and agreed to a sentence of time served. She was also deported to her home country of Israel.
Photo of Lin Halfon and husband Richard Rappaport
Halfon’s lawyers argued that their client was under Wasso’s spell and law enforcement agreed, finding what they said is evidence Wasso committed multiple counts of fraud, grand theft, conspiracy to commit grand theft from a person over 65, and money laundering.
Wasso has been in a Hillsborough County jail since July 2021, awaiting trial.
Jaycee Wasso (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
Earlier this year, three others were charged in the case: Wasso’s ex-husband Joey Evans, her former father-in-law John Evans, and one of their associates, Joseph LoPresti, who owned a check cashing business in New Jersey.
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Last month, prosecutors said they uncovered a new connection between the accused fraudsters and a family member of the victim.
Richard Rappaport’s son, Brian Rappaport, knows Joseph LoPresti well, according to prosecutors.
Joey and John Evans
While two of Wasso’s family members and the man who owns a check cashing company have been charged, Brian Rappaport has not. It’s not yet clear what, if any involvement he may have had in the alleged conspiracy.
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In a recent statement to FOX 13 News, Brian Rappaport said these defense accusations are baseless.
"My connection to Mr. LoPresti is purely coincidental, as we have attended some of the same social functions. I’ve been fully cooperative with the authorities and was informed I am not a person of interest in this case. I do look forward to justice being served for my father," said Brian Rappaport.
Lin Halfon during trial
Despite that, Wasso’s defense attorney, Glen Lansky, said none of this is a coincidence.
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He first accused the prosecution of hiding evidence that connects LoPresti with Rappaport – which could help him prove Wasso wasn’t acting alone. Lansky implied that the men were actually behind the whole thing and Wasso was another pawn in their quest to get Richard Rappaport’s money.
After learning about the connection between Brian Rappaport and Joseph LoPresti, Lansky was allowed to interview Rappaport.
After the deposition, Lansky said none of what happened – starting back in 2017 – was a coincidence.
"A relationship that was never disclosed between the victim’s son and this check casher which was stated by the prosecutor as pure coincidence," Lansky said. "These guys have known each other. There are text messages about the checks."
Now, Lanksy is asking the judge to allow him to review the secret grand jury testimony used to put John and Joey Evans, and Joseph LoPresti in jail. He believes the testimony will show Wasso wasn’t the mastermind, after all.
Tampa judge Michael Williams agreed to allow Lansky to privately review the grand jury testimony.
Wasso’s trial is still set for late February 2023.