Man faces fake witchcraft charges

Nov. 28, 2012 at 9:50 AM
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TORONTO, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Toronto police said they've filed extremely rare charges of pretending to practice witchcraft against a man who allegedly bilked a woman of $14,000.

At the urging of her family and bank, 56-year-old Maria Roesta of Brampton, northwest of Toronto, contacted police about how she had paid a man for several "spiritual cure" consultations that ran to thousands of dollars, the Toronto Star reported.

"Using spells and rituals, the man convinced the woman that she and her family were cursed

and that he could remove the curse for a sum of money," police said in a release.

Roesta, who came to Canada from Peru, told police in one case, the man broke eggs over photos of her two children and there was blood in the yolks, which he said indicated they were marked for death.

In another consultation, lemon oil rubbed on her skin turned black.

Police said it's likely the eggs had been doctored and the lemon oil contained ash.

Roesta said she had exhausted her savings and run up credit cards. Concerned bank officials and her family convinced her to call police, the Star said.

Gustavo Valencia Gomez, 40, a small Spanish-language newspaper publisher, was charged with pretending to practice witchcraft, fraud over $5,000, false pretenses, and possession of the proceeds of crime, police said.

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