A fortune teller and her accomplice were sentenced to prison Thursday on charges of fraud and money laundering, the Justice Department announced.
Prosecutors said fear of a fake family curse was used to swindle millions from the victim.
In 2012, Samantha Stevens met the unnamed and unwitting victim in Miami; she was portraying herself as a fortune teller and psychic at the time. After gaining the victim’s trust, Stevens “convinced her that a curse had been placed on her and her family,” according to the DOJ.
From there, Stevens explained to the victim that regular, costly rituals were necessary to protect the victim and her family from the fictitious curse. Over the course of the scheme, the victim gave Stevens and her accomplice Michael Guzman more than $3 million.
Stevens and Guzman would use the money on vehicles, casino gambling, and other property. When the victim was no longer able to pay up for the curse-removing rituals, Stevens cut off all contact, prompting the victim to contact law enforcement.
Guzman has been sentenced to 38 months in prison, and Stevens to 30 months. In addition, the pair must pay $3,198,000 to the victim in restitution.