A South Florida woman claiming to be a psychic has been sentenced to federal prison along with her partner for orchestrating a ‘family curse, divination and defrauding a victim of over $3 million,’ prosecutors said Thursday. .
The fraud lasted several years and only ended when the victim could no longer afford to pay for money-cleansing rituals, the Justice Department said.
Samantha Stevens, a self-proclaimed spiritual consultant, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in October. Michael Paul Guzman, was sentenced last month to three years and two months, according to court records. Both had pleaded guilty to money laundering in Miami federal court as part of a settlement with prosecutors. Stevens, 51, and Guzman, 42, also agreed to pay nearly $3.2 million in restitution to the victim.
According to court documents, Stevens was posing as a psychic and fortune teller in 2012 when she met a victim in Miami. Stevens gained the victim’s trust and convinced her that a curse had been placed on her and her family.
“Stevens claimed she had to perform rituals with large sums of money in order to lift the curse,” prosecutors wrote. “Failure to do so – the victim was led to believe – would result in harm to her and her family.”
Stevens and Guzman spent the victim’s money on vehicles, property and casino games, officials said. The relationship between Stevens and the victim lasted until 2016, when Stevens cut off communication after the victim could no longer afford the rituals. Once Stevens broke off the relationship, the victim contacted federal law enforcement.
According to the Miami New Times, Stevens argued in court that the ceremonies she hosted were an expression of her religion and that the client “received exactly what she bargained for.”
The judge was not convinced.
This isn’t the first time self-proclaimed psychics have been given prison terms in Florida. In 2020, a woman and her daughter were convicted of “defrauding two victims with their spiritual scams” and in 2019, a woman was reportedly sentenced to more than three years in prison for a “clairvoyance” scam scheme. In 2014, a South Florida woman who claimed to be a psychic capable of positively influencing terminal cancer wasin prison.