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Riverside ‘fortune teller’ arrested for grand theft; police confiscate snake, cash, tarot cards, voodoo doll

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) — A Riverside man who billed himself as a “fortune teller” has been arrested after allegedly defrauding a number of victims, together with one girl who ended up paying him greater than $50,000 after he instructed her that she and her household have been “cursed,” authorities mentioned Friday.

Andres Pena Meneses, 31, was booked on suspicion of grand theft and theft by false pretenses, each felonies, in accordance with the Riverside Police Division. He was launched after posting $57,000 bail.

The division’s financial crimes unit launched an investigation this summer season right into a fortune teller enterprise within the 3500 block of Arlington Avenue, police mentioned in a information launch.

“Detectives discovered a feminine sufferer visited the enterprise to have her fortune learn,” the assertion mentioned. “The suspect was described as a Colombian nationwide who glided by the identify ‘Carlos,’ satisfied the sufferer she had parasites in her physique, to which she paid him a number of hundred {dollars} to clear her of.”

The person later contacted the lady and “defined she and her household have been cursed and he wanted more cash to rid her of it,” authorities mentioned. The sufferer finally paid “Carlos” greater than $50,000 after he satisfied her that her kids have been additionally in hassle.

Investigators recognized the suspect as Meneses and discovered that he had a previous arrest and conviction in late 2019 in Chicago for the same fraud during which he portrayed himself as a “religion healer” and stole cash from victims.

On Tuesday, a search warrant was served at Meneses’ residence and enterprise in Riverside. Detectives discovered “a big amount of money, together with a number of gadgets akin to a voodoo doll, tarot playing cards, altars, spiritual and satanic sort objects, and a small stay snake that have been used as a part of the fraud Mr. Meneses was committing,” the assertion mentioned.

In keeping with police, a number of prospects arrived on the enterprise whereas the search was being performed and instructed investigators that Meneses had instructed them to deliver their mattress mattress from residence.

Meneses and his workers would allegedly “reduce open the mattress and declare to have discovered the stay snake inside with demonic sort gadgets and letters stating the victims’ household was in peril,” the information launch mentioned. The snake apparently was a small pet python whose carrying container was discovered contained in the enterprise through the search.

Authorities contacted different victims who mentioned Meneses marketed his companies on the radio. “He would inform them they have been cursed and to pay him cash so as to rid them of their illnesses akin to diabetes, complications, sleep issues, and nightmares,” police mentioned.

Detectives consider different folks have been victimized by Meneses who haven’t but come ahead. Anybody with details about the case is urged to contact police Detective Cory Camp at (951) 353-7117 or CCamp@RiversideCA.gov.

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