Fortuneteller bilked $50,000 from woman to get rid of parasites and a curse, police say


A fortuneteller in Riverside was arrested last week on charges that he duped a woman into giving him $50,000 to expel parasites from her body and rid her family of a curse, Riverside police said.

Andres Pena Meneses — who went by the name Carlos — was charged with grand theft and theft by false pretenses, officials said. He was released from Robert Presley Detention Center after posting a $57,000 bail.

Meneses told the woman that he needed hundreds of dollars to help her with the imaginary parasites, according to a Riverside police department news release. He also told the woman her family was cursed and that her children were in trouble, police said. The woman ultimately paid him more than $50,000, officials said.


Meneses had a prior conviction in Chicago for posing as a fraudulent “faith healer,” according to police.

Customers at the fortunetelling business told detectives conducting a search that Meneses asked them to bring their bed mattresses, which he would tear open and claim to find a live snake inside along with “demonic type items and letters stating the victim’s family was in danger,” police said. They found other “satanic type objects,” a voodoo doll, tarot cards and “a small live snake,” inside the business, officials said.

Meneses advertised his services on the radio, claiming to help cure ailments like nightmares, diabetes, headaches and sleep disorders.

Officials urged other potential victims to contact Det. Cory Camp at (951) 353-7117 or