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So-called ‘cleanser’ steals nearly $140,000 from victims in Lakewood

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Aug. 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
August 11, 2009 3:00 pm

Lakewood police are searching for a woman who promised to cleanse the money of at least seven Hispanic families but stole it instead.


The families were supposed to have their final session with Señora Monica on Sunday night at a small store in the 8600 block of South Tacoma Way, Lakewood police Lt. Heidi Hoffman said. But she never showed and now the families are out nearly $140,000.


Detectives have discovered much of the information on the business license for the store – Botanica Centro de Consultas – is false. They’re working to identify the man who got the license and Señora Monica, Hoffman said.


No arrests have been made.


The victims told Lakewood police they met Señora Monica at the nearby swap meet or heard her advertisements on a Spanish-speaking radio station, Hoffman said. She advertised that she could help with “all your problems.”


On her business card, Señora Monica listed her services as: Reads cards, reads palms, performs cleansings, interprets dreams, reunites loved ones, sexual deficiencies, cures nervous disorders, employment problems, alcoholism and drug addiction. “Don’t suffer anymore. If you can’t have children, call me,” the card reads. “Performs spells, counterspells and love spells.”


Some victims had Taro card readings with Señora Monica and decided to have her cleanse their money. Some of the sessions occurred with the victims at the store on South Tacoma Way.


The victims had set up a final meeting Sunday night during which they would receive their cleansed money and would pay a gratuity – whatever they felt was appropriate – to Señora Monica, Hoffman said.


“Señora Monica never showed up,” Hoffman said.


Investigators have learned a man got a business license and paid cash in June to rent out the storefront on South Tacoma Way. The store also sold candles, incense and other items, Hoffman said.


A closed sign now hangs on the door.


“All the information on the business license has proven to be false,” Hoffman said.


Detectives don’t have a last name for Señora Monica. She’s described as Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet tall and 130 pounds. She has long black hair.


Anyone with information on Señora Monica’s identity or whereabouts is asked to call Lakewood police at 253-830-5000.

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