Ontario psychic charged with pretending to practice witchcraft for allegedly taking more than $100,000 from clients

Police say she told highly vulnerable customers she needed to 'cleanse' their cash and jewellery of 'evil spirits' in order to cure their ailments

West Elgin Chronicle, Canada/October 22, 2018

By Nick Faris

An Ontario psychic has been charged with pretending to practice witchcraft for allegedly bilking more than 20 clients out of more than $100,000 in cash and jewellery, a score police say she achieved by telling highly vulnerable customers she needed to “cleanse” their property of “evil spirits” in order to cure their ailments.

Police in Milton, Ont., arrested 32-year-old Dorie Stevenson last Thursday on charges of extortion, fraud exceeding $5,000 and pretending to tell fortunes for a fraudulent purpose, an antiquated crime that could soon be removed from Canada’s Criminal Code by proposed legislation Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced last year.

The Halton Regional Police Service launched an investigation into Stevenson, the proprietor of Milton Psychic, in May on the word of one victim who alleged she’d swindled them out of more than $60,000. The number of alleged victims who have come forward is now greater than 20, Det. Const. Sarah McCullagh said Monday, adding that Stevenson, who uses the pseudonym Madeena, is believed to have taken these patrons for sums as large as $85,000.

“She’d be preying on their embarrassment to not come forward to the police, because people were too embarrassed that they’d given that amount of money to someone,” McCullagh said.

Halton police believe Stevenson tended to target clients who approached her in a state of heightened vulnerability. Some were in debt or ill, McCullagh said; others were lamenting the end of a romantic relationship. She alleges that Stevenson would extort these people by claiming “bad things will happen to them or their family members” if they didn’t lend her money, jewellery or other goods that she could bless for them.

McCullagh said Stevenson gained the trust of these customers by returning small amounts of their money, but refused to return their phone calls and cut off all communication with them as soon as the person began to ask for everything back.

Attempts to contact Stevenson at Milton Psychic’s phone number and email address weren’t immediately successful on Monday. Police released her from custody shortly after she was arrested last week and she’s expected to make her first court appearance in November.

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