Kenner, LA. – A deceitful fortuneteller named April Stevens told her client that “money is the root of all evil” right before she scammed $10,000 from her. The saying was true in Stevens’ case since she’s now in trouble because of her money greed. 20-year-old Stevens told the victim that she needed $10,000 to “cleanse” it. This cleansing would supposedly expel a curse the victim had on her.
Kenner detectives arrested the Harahan native last week. According to the arrest records, they charged her with theft of $1,500 or more.
The arrest reports indicated that before being arrested, Stevens owned and operated a fortune-telling and psychic business in Kenner. The victim, who chose to remain anonymous, told detectives that she started visiting the psychic regularly in July of 2012. The psychic told her that she was cursed and that it would wreak havoc on her life if not removed. She even told her that it could cause her a great illness and possibly death if they didn’t remove it.
The arrest report states that Stevens used age-old tricks on the victim. She performed ritualistic ceremonies to persuade her that her life was in danger. Stevens successfully convinced the woman that the only solution to her curse was to give her $10,000. This money would supposedly be taken to “the church” for cleansing.
Stevens Did Not Live Up To Her Promises
Sgt. Brian McGregor, a spokesman for the Kenner Police Department, said that the agreement was to return the “cleansed” money to the woman after purification. However, after several months of not returning it, it was clear that Stevens wasn’t planning on giving it back.
The victim finally asked Stevens for her money back and was told that the cleansing process was not yet complete. After about six months, the victim finally demanded her money back. She told Stevens she didn’t care if she was still cursed or not. At that point, Stevens gave her back part of her money. She only did so because the woman convinced her that she had an emergency expense that needed to be covered.
Despite receiving part of the money back, the victim decided to go ahead and report Stevens to the police. According to McGregor, Stevens was arrested for alleged theft of about $9,000.
She was jailed on February 28th and held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. She was released on a $5,000 bond the same day. When reporters attempted to call her business phone number for more information, no one answered the call.
Some people question why Stevens was arrested for theft when it’s clear she was given the money by the victim’s own free will. McGregor said that even though the victim voluntarily handed it over, Louisiana state theft laws state that it is considered theft when you take anything of value by fraudulent means, such as trickery, deceit, and threats.
“Here, you have an incident where she was given money to hold with the understanding that it will be returned. You fail to return the items when requested by the victim, thus permanently depriving them of their rightful property.”
This Type Of Crime Is Common In Louisiana
Unfortunately, the city of Kenner is no stranger to fraudulent psychics. In 2009, a self-proclaimed psychic reader named Debra Marks was accused and arrested for taking $51,645 worth of money and jewelry from a different woman. Marks used the same “money cleansing” trick as Stevens, and according to the Jefferson Parish court records, she was sentenced to five years of probation.
Police also arrested a relative of Debra Marks named Sonya Marks in 2006 for swindling $30,000 from a family. Court records state that in 2007 she pleaded guilty to theft and was given six months of probation.
McGregor acknowledges that some psychics take advantage of people who have problems in their life. “They seek help but instead, fake psychics scam them out of money and or property,” he says.
Although they are not sure, Kenner detectives have reason to believe that there are other victims of Stevens’ and are urging them to contact the police department at 504-712-2200.