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 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 Stevens owned and operated a fortune-telling and psychic business in Kenner before being arrested.
The victim, who remained anonymous, told detectives that she started visiting the psychic regularly in July 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 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 convinced the woman that the only solution to her curse was to give her $10,000. He would supposedly take this money 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 incomplete.
After about six months, the victim finally demanded her money back. She told Stevens she didn’t care if she was still cursed. At that point, Stevens gave her back part of her money. Stevens only did so because the woman convinced her she had an emergency expense to cover. Despite receiving part of the money back, the victim decided to go ahead and report Stevens to the police.
According to McGregor, police arrested Stevens 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. No one answered when reporters attempted to call her business phone number for more information. Some people question why Stevens was arrested for theft when the victim gave her the money of her own free will.
McGregor said that even though the victim voluntarily handed it over, Louisiana state theft laws state that it is theft when you take anything of value fraudulently, such as trickery, deceit, and threats. “Here, you have an incident where a victim gave her money to hold with the understanding that she would return it. You fail to return the items when the victim requests, 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, a judge sentenced her 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 Stevens victims and are urging them to contact the police department at 504-712-2200.