WANNA Marchi became a household name as a television saleswoman in the late 1970s.
She earned the title of Queen of Teleshopping for selling a wide range of gimmicks, from slimming creams to lottery numbers.
Who is Wanna Marchi?
Wanna Marchi was born into a large family of ten siblings in Bologna, Italy.
She worked as a beautician in her hometown, from making up the deceased for their funeral to working at nearby salons.
Marchi married Raimondo Nobile in 1961, aged just 18, and shortly thereafter had their daughter Stefania and son Maurizio.
But in the late 1970s, she was asked to sell products for television shows.
Although her first two attempts didn’t go well, she hit gold on the third attempt.
She started out selling a slimming cream and used derogatory comments, like telling her viewers that acne was ugly and gross, but the comments worked.
The slimming cream has become one of their best-selling products on teleshopping networks.
Who is Stefania Nobile?
Stefania Nobile was 32 when she left with her mother to start her own teleshopping show.
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Marchi and Nobile began collaborating with a businessman and switched to fortune-telling-related products.
In May 1996, Nobile, Marchi and their business partner Mário Pacheco founded Do Nascimento Ascié.
They started selling horoscopes and lottery numbers, claiming that Nascimento was clairvoyant and knew which numbers were the winners.
Older women were their targets, and operators called and tried to get them to buy the products, claiming they would cure drug addiction, tumors and other diseases.
Although none of this was true, people continued to buy the products and if they changed their minds they were reportedly threatened.
Marchi called Fosca Marcon in 2001 and told her that if she paid €150 she would get the winning lottery numbers.
Doubting the call, Marcon said “No thanks” and hung up, but when she received the same call the next day, she contacted Striscia La Panikia, an Italian news channel.
She worked with reporters from the station to record her calls with Marchi and paid the 150 euros to have Marchi express the so-called winning numbers.
The lottery numbers arrived and with them was a sealed bag of sea salt with instructions to dissolve it in a small glass of water in a dark place for a week before the numbers were played.
When Marcon unsurprisingly won the lottery, she called back to complain and was told the sea salt wasn’t dissolving and evil was on her side, the Irish Times reported.
She was told that the in-house “wizard” Nascimento had agreed to prescribe drugs that would cure Marcon of the “evil eye” if she paid them €2,000.
When Marcon refused, the Irish Times reported that Nobile came on the line and threatened her.
She reportedly told her she wished her “all the wicked things in the world,” telling her, “You’ll never sleep another wink as long as you live.”
Did Wanna Marchi and Stefania Nobile go to jail?
Marchi and Nobile came to the attention of the authorities in November 2001 when Striscia la Panikia was investigating Ascié’s business practices.
Financial investigators found that Manchi, Nobile and Nascimento scammed more than 300,000 customers and earned more than 33 million euros ($32.6 million) over five years.
The three were arrested in January 2002 and charged with fraud. In March of the same year, they were released from prison and sentenced to house arrest while awaiting trial.
The trial began in May 2004 and lasted until March 2006, when prosecutor Gaetano Ruta requested that Nobile be sentenced to 13 years in prison and Marchi sentenced to 12 years and seven years for Nascimento.
During the trial, Ruta said: “Vanna Marchi and Stefania Nobile deserve the qualification of villains because they have cultivated and sold the unhappiness of others, apart from talking about lucky numbers of the lot.
Ruta continued: “Stefania Nobile is an example of cowardice because she tried to defend herself by shifting all responsibility onto the operators who instead acted on the instructions of the two defendants in this trial.”
Defense attorney Liborio Cataliotti told the jury that he believed Marchi, Nobile and Nascimento had already been convicted by the media.
Cataliotti said: “In the subsequent trials, the story will be restored to its true dimension and the scams against these 116 poor people will remain, scams that my clients did not commit.”
On April 3, 2006, Marchi, Nobile and Nascimento were sentenced to two years and six months in prison on conspiracy to commit fraud and an additional 10 years in prison on other charges.
The three also had to pay back more than 2 million euros and another 40 million euros to the victims of the scam.
Where are you now?
Marchi’s prison sentence was reduced to nine years and six months after an appeal, but was released in October 2012 after six years in prison.
According to Cinemaholic, Marchi currently lives with her daughter and divides her time between Albania and Milan, Italy.
Now, twenty years after their arrest, Marchi and Nobile speak in a new Netflix documentary, set to air September 21, 2022.
The documentary, titled Fortune Seller: A TV Scam, examines the early years of Marchi’s efforts in the teleshopping market and addresses the charges against her.
https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/6272858/wanna-marchi-stefania-nobile-netflix-fortune-teller/ Who are Wanna Marchi and Stefania Nobile from Netflix Fortune Seller: A TV Scam?