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2 charged with bilking victims out of $107K in 'cursed' cash

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A mother-daughter fortune-telling team persuaded at least three people to give them their life savings because the money was "cursed" and needed cleansing, authorities said.


A mother-daughter fortune-telling team persuaded at least three people to give them their life savings because the money was "cursed" and needed cleansing, then fled with the cash before being caught in Arizona, authorities said Thursday.

Laura Santini, 62, and daughter Rosann Santini, 36, are charged with stealing more than $62,000 from a 60-year-old woman in April 2007 and $45,000 from a couple in July 2007, telling them the root of their problems was their money, which needed to be "cleansed," prosecutors said.

The women allegedly told their victims they would take the money to a shrine in Indiana to be prayed over, to bless it and "purge it of evil spirits."

The victims asked for their money back but were told something bad would happen to them and their children if they did not have the money cleansed, prosecutors said.

The victims obliged, court records said.

The women were arrested last spring and scheduled for arraignment in April but fled, prompting no-bail arrest warrants. They were caught in Arizona on July 17 and extradited here last week.

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