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'Miss Cleo' hails from California, not Jamaica
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A birth certificate obtained by the state shows the woman marketed on cable television as Jamaican psychic Miss Cleo was actually born in Los Angeles, the daughter of American parents.
Miss Cleo -- Caribbean accent and colorful clothing aside -- was born Youree Dell Harris on Aug. 13, 1962, in Los Angeles County Hospital, the document shows. Her parents were from California and Texas.
The state has sued Harris challenging her to prove she really is a renowned shaman from Jamaica. At the same time, the state and Federal Trade Commission have sued two Fort Lauderdale companies -- Access Resource Services Inc. and Psychic Readers Network -- for fraud. The FTC says it acted after getting more than 2,000 complaints.
"We sought this document because the company has gone to great lengths to say that Miss Cleo is a master shaman from Jamaica," David Aronberg, an assistant attorney general, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for a story Thursday. The newspaper used Florida's open records law to get a copy of the document from the state.
Harris appears on national infomercials promising insights into love, money and other personal matters.
Authorities allege the psychic service misrepresented costs, billed customers for services they never bought, harassed consumers with unwanted telemarketing calls and responded to complaints with threats and abuse.
Harris' attorney, William Cone Jr., said he didn't want to debate the birth certificate's validity.
Cone has said Harris should not be party to the lawsuit because, as a contractor of Access Resource, she should not have to defend herself.