Phony fortune teller fails to predict arrest

A clairvoyant con artist who allegedly scammed millions of kronor from superstitious Swedes has been arrested after evading capture for years. The 48 year-old, who claimed to have contact with the spirit world, was finally apprehended at the end of March following a string of suspected scams dating back to 2002.

In one reported case, 74 year-old Ursula Engstrand was swindled out of nearly SEK 500,000 (EUR 55,600) as the apparent psychic told her she would fall victim to a terrible accident if she failed to pay up.

“It was brainwashing. She sent papers up to me and told me to sign them. I didn’t dare disobey her,” Ms Engstrand told the Gefle Dagblad newspaper at the time. Engstrand, who is wheelchair bound, eventually had her house repossessed after the 48 year-old allegedly took out huge loans and bought cars in her name.

The accused also apparently conned a further SEK 3m (EUR 333,500) from a millionaire who made contact with the crooked clairvoyant after seeing an advertisement in a newspaper. The wealthy woman forked out cash for consultations and even funded a trip to “the holy land” so the soothsayer could make an offering to the spirit world. On her return, the phony seer apparently charged the woman for a handful of pigeon feathers and a bottle of holy water, which she said would protect her from bad luck.

The 48 year-old will be tried at the Solna District Court in Stockholm where her victims will be called to testify. “As I see things, we’re looking at several years in prison,” prosecutor Ake Olsson told Gefle Dagblad.

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