Investigators Uncover Miss Cleo's Birth Certificate

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Miss Cleo, the front lady of the Psychic Readers Network made famous by her late-night DRTV spots, was born in California, not Jamaica, the Florida attorney general's office said yesterday.


Investigators for the state attorney general obtained a copy of Miss Cleo's birth certificate, which indicated that she was born Youree Dell Harris on Aug. 13, 1962, in Los Angeles County Hospital, to parents who were from California and Texas.


Florida assistant attorney general Bob Buchner said the new evidence bolsters the state's deception lawsuit against Harris and Access Resource Services, the company that operates the Psychic Readers Network.


According to the suit, DRTV ads, mailers and telephone solicitations for the Psychic Readers Network present Harris as a shaman from Jamaica who is renowned for her psychic powers. The Florida attorney general's office has challenged that claim.


"How can she be a Jamaican shaman if she's not from Jamaica?" Buchner said.


A Fort Lauderdale, FL, attorney representing Harris did not return calls for comment March 14.


Several other states have pursued charges against Access Resource Services. However, Florida is the first to sue Harris individually.


"When someone becomes the embodiment of a company, as she has become, then they have a legal responsibility for it," Buchner said. "She has become, in the minds of pretty much everybody, the company. That might be OK if everything they did was truthful. But it hasn't been truthful at all."


The Federal Trade Commission also has filed charges against Access Resource Services, accusing the company of failing to honor promises of three-minute free trial "psychic readings" made in its advertising and solicitations.


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