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Ventura County

Psychic Guilty in Tax Fraud Case

September 14, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

A self-described psychic from Thousand Oaks pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to helping her in-laws hide proceeds from their Manhattan Beach psychic business from the Internal Revenue Service.

Nasta Merino, 23, admitted a single charge of conspiring to defraud the IRS. She is free on bond and scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 2.

Merino admitted helping Sonia and Steve Merino hide income from the 1998 and 1999 tax years by asking clients to pay in cash or other goods. Nasta Merino worked at the business as a psychic and tarot card reader.

Authorities believe Sonia and Steve Merino failed to report about $750,000 in income to the IRS. They pleaded guilty to tax fraud and will be sentenced Nov. 18.

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