Another ‘Psychic’ Arrested in Florida


On the heels of the convictions of the Marks family for defrauding people under the guise of being “psychic,” another con man has been arrested in Florida for much the same thing. This one calls himself a “faith healer” and promises to align your chakras and all sorts of other wonderful things for an exorbitant fee.

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…

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…

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.

As always, I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, it’s obviously fraud. On the other hand, if you’re dumb enough to fall for it…

Comments

  1. says

    Yup! Weird how people fall for this, but they also fall for ‘legitimate’ religions doing not entirely dissimilar stunts. And those guys don’t get arrested!

    btw I love the entries in FTB Recent that announce things like: “Another ‘Psychic’ Arrested in Florida by Ed Brayton”. I hope you did the cuffs real tight. :-)

  2. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, it’s obviously fraud. On the other hand, if you’re dumb enough to fall for it…

    Not me, instead I look forward to the day victims of faith healing can successfully sue their pastor in court. It’s my perspective that’s where most of the fraudulent claims and harm of this type occur.

    Re Ed’s, “On the other hand, if you’re dumb enough to fall for it…:
    I see such court victories as a win/win since bringing the frauds to justice increases the exposure of the idiocy of those who submit themselves to such practices. These delusional suckers will be even further exposed, amplifying their demonstrated idiocy during court proceedings that should cause other potential victims to think and increasingly pause/stop.

    By finding pastors in court culpable, we also reduce the level of child abuse by parents who submit their children for faith healing. Where in this case Ed’s, “dumb enough to fall for it”, finding doesn’t apply. And yet there’s still a victim, in this case an innocent.

  3. Mr Ed says

    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…

    This is most certainly fraud and completely different from paying for audits to free yourself from body thetans.

  4. doublereed says

    Eh, the “dumb enough to fall for it” excuse can be used for literally any scam. Everything from Ponzi schemes to credit cards to predatory lending. I generally say that it’s victim-blaming.

  5. Sastra says

    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…

    Whoa!

    This is astonishing to me. Yes, it’s fraud — but it’s spiritual fraud. Meaning that as far as I can tell all the promises here are deliberately untestable, taking place on other dimensions and invoking faith in interpreting outcomes. Iirc, the other cases involved something rather specific and clear — like agreeing to return money and then absconding with it.

    But this one? Prove that her aura wasn’t better after the woman used the crystals. Or, if “proof” is too harsh or rigorous a goal, then show the preponderance of the evidence against it. Demonstrate to The Rational Person (in the form of a judge or jury) that her aura was just as dark after the crystals as before.

    I’d argue that yes, this can be done — but it’s going to involve debunking the idea that “auras” are real. And that’s eventually going to involve debunking the supernatural, spirituality, and religion in general.

    They’re going to touch this live wire? Really???

    Cool.

    But I don’t see how they’re going to get around the level of privilege granted to supernatural claims in our culture. If the New Agers, Hindus, or other believers in auras and crystals and ‘spiritual healing’ start to squawk that no, it is not just obvious to the Reasonable Person that this is all bullshit, then there’s a much bigger fight involved. Rational people of other faiths will have no other reasonable choice but to support the phony psychic … by demanding that reason and rationality be set aside to protect the principles of faith.

    This case is very interesting.

  6. ottod says

    I blame it on the schools. Why are we never taught how to select an honest faith healer or psychic? Something should be done.

  7. gardengnome says

    I concur with doublereed, it does smack of victim blaming and it shouldn’t detract from the seriousness of the crime.

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