South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Aug. 17, 2002
By Nancy L. Othón
DELRAY BEACH · An internal-affairs investigation has cleared a veteran police officer of accusations that he had a personal relationship with a self-proclaimed psychic who is being investigated for defrauding elderly people out of thousands for her services.
The inquiry also cleared former detective Jack Makler — now working on road patrol — of allegations that he pocketed cash that was meant as restitution when her clients went to police.
The three-month inquiry into Makler’s dealings with Linda Marks found that while he did not act unethically, he violated department policy by failing to properly document transactions that ultimately raised suspicions.
The Delray Beach Police Department reopened the internal-affairs investigation after new allegations surfaced in a lawsuit against the department, Makler and Marks that accused Makler of working directly with Marks and her husband.
Attorney Barry Silver filed the lawsuit in February on behalf of Leroy and Dolores Hoffert, who say they gave Marks more than $316,000.
When the Hofferts reported Marks to police, Makler arranged for restitution and returned $86,000, according to reports.
Makler was issued a written reprimand. Allegations that he worked for the Markses and kept money that Linda Marks gave him to return to the Hofferts were unfounded.
Since then, about a dozen former clients have come forward to complain about Marks. Some asserted that Makler and other Delray Beach investigators steered them away from pursuing criminal charges against the so-called psychic.
Investigations dealing with Makler and Marks aren’t over. Police are investigating whether Marks has been running a “continuing scheme to defraud” and there is another internal investigation pending against Makler.
“While your intentions to assist the Hofferts in recuperating a substantial loss in this case is admirable, your lack of documentation and inattention to detail left you and this agency open to much speculation and mistrust,” Chief Larry Schroeder wrote. “Proper handling of this matter coupled with detailed and accurate reporting could have minimized the attacks of your ethics and integrity in this case.”
The investigation revealed Makler delivered a series of payments to the Hofferts from Marks without a witness or proper documentation, according to reports. Also, the Hofferts never signed a form indicating they were declining to prosecute Marks.
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