Woman Gets Probation in Theft
A Wilmington woman who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from at least 13 people by promising to cleanse their cash of evil spirits has been sentenced to three years probation and ordered to give the money back.
Long Beach Superior Court Judge James Francis could have sentenced Anacelia Gomez, 52, to as much as 16 months in state prison for the seven counts of fraud, Deputy Dist. Atty. Tina Hanson said.
Instead, the judge focused on making sure the victims--most of them from struggling, lower-income families--get their money back.
Gomez, using several aliases, made her victims believe that all their misfortunes were being caused by evil spirits and curses plaguing their cash. She promised to cleanse the cash if they would give it to her for several weeks. In some cases, she recommended that her victims borrow money from friends and relatives to increase the positive impact of her cleansing efforts.
Gomez then would leave town.
Investigators said they believe Gomez was involved in similar scams in Bell Gardens, Carson, Compton and Long Beach prior to her arrest.