No crystal ball could’ve reflected this!
A psychic from Miami named Samantha Stevens and her partner Michael Paul Guzman landed themselves in some legal trouble after a client reading didn’t go exactly as they planned — they’re going behind bars! In 2012 Stevens met an unnamed client when she was reportedly “portraying herself as a psychic/fortune teller,” convincing her she was cursed. According to a press release from the department of justice:
“Stevens gained the victim’s trust and convinced her that a curse had been placed on her and her family. Stevens claimed she needed to perform rituals on large sums of money in order to lift the curse. Failure to do so — the victim was led to believe — would result in harm to her and her family.”
Throughout the course of a decade it’s reported the victim handed over more than $3 MILLION in cash that was used by Stevens and Guzman for vehicles, property, and gambling. Allegedly the psychic herself cut off communication with the client “after she could no longer pay” for the money cleansing rituals she was performing. It was at this point the unnamed victim reached out to law enforcement, which resulted in the two running the scheme to land charges of money laundering and “a fortune telling fraud scheme”.
According to court docs obtained by TMZ, the psychic and her partner’s lawyers tried to have the case thrown out because the defendants never promised to return the money they “cleansed”. They also argued the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects them.
The Miami New Times said Stevens claimed the rituals were Romani heritage and said her taking the victim’s money was equal to Christian leaders taking money from church members as offerings. The judge disagreed, though, and said “there are plenty alternatives for Stevens to practice her religion without engaging in a scheme to defraud”.
The 51-year-old and her 42-year-old partner were sentenced to 30 and 38 months in prison respectively — which is a bit strange, right? Why did the actual psychic get less of a sentence than her partner? Regardless, the two of them now owe the victim all her money back. All $3.198 million of it! Reportedly they struck a deal to avoid longer prison sentences, too, so it seems like their original sentence was going to be longer.
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