Hallandale Beach police: 'Faith healer' swindled 2 women out of $85,700

Sun Sentinel, Florida/December 4, 2013

By Tonya Alanez

A self-proclaimed faith healer, chakra aligner and remover of impurities was jailed on accusations that he swindled two women he met at Aventura Mall out of nearly $100,000, Hallandale Beach police say.

Known to his accusers as "Dorian" and "Robert" but booked into jail as Joe Alvarez, 32, police aren't sure what his real name is, police reports show.

Promising to expel bad luck and cleanse the women of harmful spiritual impurities through rituals and sacrifices, Alvarez over a period of several months took the two for a combined $85,700, police reports show.

"I was very upset for being so naïve and gullible," Evelyn Taveras, 36, of Hallandale Beach, said Wednesday. "I felt like, 'What an idiot. How could you fall for this?' It was very demoralizing."

Taveras crossed paths with Alvarez on Feb. 6 as she entered a store he was leaving. He complimented her "beautiful aura" and its yellow hue, she said.

"It's just the way he came across, very humble, understanding, just a very familiar feeling," Taveras said. "Recently I had been becoming more religious and spiritual with energy work, positive thinking and auras…and it struck me as odd that he could see that."

He introduced himself as a spiritual healer named Dorian, offered "to align her chakras and prevent bad things from happening to her" and sold her three crystals for $5,200 each under the pretense that "they were essential for her to maintain a good aura," a police report said.
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Their relationship unraveled when Alvarez made an unnanounced May 5 visit to Taveras' home after she revealed to him that she had $39,000 cash hidden under her mattress — money she was saving to open a business, the report said.

When Alvarez left, he told Taveras not to touch the hidden money "or it would bring bad luck to it."

Despite the instructions, Taveras opened the manila envelope that had held the cash and instead found play money and newspaper clippings. She also was relieved of some jewelry for a total loss of $48,700, the report said.

A second woman, Cassandre Soray, 36, of Miami Shores, told a similar story.

Soray told police she met Alvarez, who introduced himself as a spiritual healer named Robert, at Aventura Mall in December 2012. Over many months, he persuaded her to pay him $37,000 "to cleanse the impurities from her," a police report said.

Hallandale Beach police tracked down Alvarez on Nov. 27 after he placed an order with a printing business for "spiritual healer" and "astrological readings" materials and provided a Fort Lauderdale address, reports said.

"The defendant in this case has used multiple identities, dates of birth and Social Security numbers," police reports said. "The defendant has no known state photo identification, and his true name has not been confirmed."

Also known as Robert Johnson, Dorian Johnson, Robert Dorian, Joey Alvarez and Bob Johnson, he's now being held in a Pompano Beach jail on $16,000 bond.

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