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Life Coach Faces New Charge of Credit Card Misuse

The logo of Crooks' practice
Shown is an image from Ashley Crooks’ website from 2022. The former therapist entered pretrial intervention in August 2022 for theft using clients’ credit cards. Crooks was indicted, Oct. 3, on a similar charge from 2022.

By Christopher South

COURT HOUSE – The Ocean City psychotherapist turned life coach who was accused of using clients’ credit cards to pay for psychic readings in 2021 and 2022 was indicted Tuesday, Oct. 3, for making other unauthorized transactions last year, after entering a pretrial intervention program.

Ashley P. Crooks, 33, entered into an arrangement with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, after being accused of using her clients’ credit cards to pay $40,000 to a business called Sanctuary Ventures, which provides psychic readings. The spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office told the Herald the credit card companies refunded the money to their clients, leaving only one victim – Sanctuary Ventures.

This month’s indictment came after a complaint filed Friday, Sept. 8, in Ocean City related to an allegedly fraudulent charge from Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The complainant told police their December 2022 credit card statement included unauthorized transactions by Crooks’ counseling services business totaling $1,500. Crooks was advised to appear in Cape May County Court, Friday, Sept. 15, or a warrant would be issued for her arrest.

The Prosecutor’s Office said last November that Crooks had closed her Ocean City operations, moved to Massachusetts and was believed to be complying with the terms of her pretrial intervention.

She was originally investigated in December 2021, and Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, she was called into the Ocean City Police Department, where she was charged with misuse of customer credit cards. The Prosecutor’s Office verified that Crooks had surrendered her New Jersey license as a psychotherapist, and Aug. 8, 2022, she entered pretrial intervention as a first-time offender. Pretrial programs keep people from having to serve jail time and lead to the dismissal of the charges if the program is completed.

Crooks was named in a three-count indictment, Oct. 3, for theft, theft by deception and fraudulent use of a credit card, all third-degree crimes, and all related to the alleged theft of $1,500 in Ocean City.

As of this writing, it is uncertain whether the charges constitute a violation of the pretrial intervention agreement. Its conditions included Crooks giving up her New Jersey license to practice as a therapist, random drug tests and making restitution in the amount of $29,749.76 to Sanctuary Ventures for 30 charges made to client credit cards.

The Herald previously reported last November that the Prosecutor’s Office had received “a few thousand dollars” from Crooks, and anticipated the remaining restitution money soon. The pretrial intervention coordinator said Crooks was selling her house to pay the rest.

Contact the author, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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