Maltese Fortune Teller With a Gambling Habit Blindsided by Arrest

Posted on: August 29, 2022, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2022, 03:34h.

A fortune teller in Malta never saw it coming. But Maria Magdalena Sultana has avoided jail time after authorities arrested her for money laundering in conjunction with her long-running gambling habit.

Malta courtroom
A typical Malta courtroom in between cases. A Maltese fortune teller and gambler has avoided prison after a judge found her guilty of money laundering, fraud, and other charges. (Image: Times of Malta)

Sultana allegedly made a decent living staring into her crystal ball and telling others what fates awaited them. However, the magic apparently didn’t work to predict her own future.

Media outlet TVM reports that from 2009 to 2020, she generated considerable income as a psychic, although how much she earned remains a mystery.

It was enough that she could afford regular gambling trips, however. In the 11 years, Sultana reportedly spent around €200,000 (US$199,760) at area casinos.

Crystal Ball Magic Fades

A police tip led to an investigation, where police discovered that Sultana was masquerading as a fortune teller. She offered her services through two different pages on Facebook, earning €20 to €35 (US$19.98 to $35.96) per session. She hadn’t held a job since 2008, filing unemployment claims and continuously collecting benefits from the state.

After some calculations, investigators realized that she couldn’t make enough income to cover her gambling activity without cutting corners. This included not paying taxes and using the casino to launder what she made from reading people’s futures.

As the investigation progressed, police took a trip to Sultana’s home. There, they found several items associated with fortune telling, including an Ouija board and more. In addition, they confiscated over €4,000 (US$3,996) in cash.

Court Appearance

With the investigation concluded, police arrested and charged Sultana for her crimes. These included money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, probation violation, and more. At the time of her repeated fortune-telling offenses, she had multiple probation orders issued against her.

At trial, several of her former clients appeared to confirm her activity. They had given her money to tell them about their future or to place a curse on others. No one confirmed that her predictions or actions became reality. As a result, several later considered suicide because of the lack of fulfillment of Sultana’s prophecies.

Ultimately, the judge presiding over the case, Donatella Frendo Dimech sentenced Sultana received a 24-month prison sentence, suspended for four years. In addition, she will have to pay a fine of €28,000 (US$27,991). Because she collected government subsidies while working, Sultana also had to give up certain assets that the government seized.

Part of the judge’s leniency resulted from Sultana’s bad luck at the casinos. The judge recognized that, although she claimed to be able to see the future, she had lost more money at the tables and machines than she had won.