RIVERSID, California (AP) – The arrest was probably not in the plans for the self-proclaimed fortune teller who, according to authorities, defrauded a Southern California woman out of $ 50,000 by claiming to cure her of parasites and her family from the curse.
Andres Pena Meneses, 31, of Riverside, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of major theft and bogus burglary, but was released after posting a $ 57,000 bail, according to the police department.
It was not immediately clear whether Meneses had a lawyer who could act on his behalf.
A police statement said Meneses, a Colombian citizen convicted in Chicago in 2019 for posing as a fake “healer,” advertised his divination business in Riverside under the name “Carlos.”
According to police, the woman who traveled to Meneses this summer to read her condition was told that she had parasites, which Carlos removed for a fee of several hundred dollars.
Later, Meneses contacted the woman and told her that her family was cursed and her children were in danger, police said.
“Under his false pretenses, the victim ended up paying Carlos over $ 50,000,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, investigators ransacked his home and business in the area east of Los Angeles and found cash along with a “voodoo doll, tarot cards, altars, religious and satanic-type items, and a small living python pet used as part of the scam. “- said the police.
The company’s clients told investigators that Carlos told them to bring mattresses from home. They said that Meneses and his staff cut the mattress “and stated that they found a living snake inside with demonic-type objects and letters stating that the victims’ family was in danger,” police said.
Police also reported that Meneses advertised his services on the radio and claimed he could treat diseases such as diabetes, headaches, sleep disturbances and nightmares.
“The detectives believe there are many more casualties and that the Hispanic community has been targeted,” police spokesman Ryan Railsback told Riverside Press-Enterprise.