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Fake Florida psychic sentenced for stealing $1.6M to remove family curse

2019-09-11

A Florida woman must repay the more than $1 million she stole from an unsuspecting victim looking to rid herself of a family curse.

Sherry Tina Uwanawich, 29, was sentenced to 40 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Uwanawich was posing as a psychic in 2007 when she met her victim in Houston and convinced her that there was a curse on her and her family, according to the DOJ. She “claimed she needed large sums of money to purchase items, such as crystals, candles and the like, which were needed for meditation work in order to lift the curse,” officials said. “Failure to do so, the victim was led to believe, would result in harm to her and family.”

In Houston, Uwanawich met the victim, an unidentified then-27-year-old medical student from Brazil who told the con artist that she was suffering from depression after her mother’s death, according to the Houston Chronicle. Years later, Unanawich eventually told the victim that her late mother had been cursed by a South American witch; the woman handed over student loan money, her wages from stripping, gift cards and her inheritance after her father died.

The scheme lasted until 2014, when Uwanawich, who had since moved to South Florida, admitted there was no curse.