Fortuneteller swindles Hispanic community
- Christina Lent
- Beaverton Valley Times - News
Suspect used tarot card readings to bilk thousands of dollars from at least three women
A fortuneteller named Mariana Gomez offered to tell the futures of Spanish speaking clients, but instead spirited away their cash.
Beaverton police are searching for the Beaverton woman who advertised tarot card readings on three Spanish radio stations in the area. Officers have reason to believe she has been preying on her Hispanic patrons' fears in order to swindle them out of thousands of dollars.
Three Hispanic women came forward Nov. 28 to report they were the victims of Gomez's scam.
The women told Beaverton Police Officer Scott Burke they all heard ads on Spanish radio programs on 94.3 FM, 93.5 FM and 1130 AM for tarot card readings being offered from a Beaverton home at 12455 S.W. Seventh St.
The three friends went to see Gomez at various times between Oct. 1 and Nov. 28. During their visits, Gomez reportedly told them 'witches and other evils were in their futures,' according to Burke's police report.
'Mariana told them that if they all provided her with cash, she would fix their pending problems with the evil spirits,' Burke stated in the report.
The women confided in the officer that they all believed the tarot readings were real.
One woman provided Gomez with $1,300 in cash, the second $3,300 and the third $3,500.
'All of them were told that after a period of time went by, and the evil spirits were handled, they would all get their money back,' Burke reported.
The victims were told they would receive their money back in 40 days. But when that time passed and Gomez didn't return their cash as promised, they became suspicious.
The women returned to Gomez's rented home last week and learned she had moved out of the Seventh Street address.
According to her landlord, Gomez lived in the apartment with a male roommate. The landlord told police he had not seen the pair for a while and didn't expect to get a rent check from them on Friday when it was due. The number Gomez used for her Mariana's Tarot Card Readings business was also disconnected.
'We know there are other victims, but because they may be illegal immigrants, they may not want to come forward,' said Officer Pam Yazzolino, Beaverton police spokeswoman. 'These women asked us to get the word out so others would think twice before stepping into this situation.'
While they admitted to police they felt foolish for falling for the scam, they worried other fraud victims might be afraid to contact law enforcement about this issue out of fear of being deported.
'They understand that they will never get their money back,' Burke reported. However, they want this fortuneteller stopped and radio stations to pull her ads.
Police protected the identities of the three victims and did not release their names.
The Beaverton Police Department has attempted to contact all three radio stations. In the meantime, officers are asking anyone with information about this investigation, or who may be the victim of fraud, to call 503-629-0111.