Voodoo Conmen

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
We have seen examples of conmen using 'magic' before - getting people to hand over their money, goods, etc. without realising:

Voodoo conmen cash in on gullible in booming Dubai

(Reuters)

7 November 2004


DUBAI - Armed with buckets and fake bills, mystic-minded conmen are converging on the booming Gulf city of Dubai intent on duping the gullible out of their cash.

Confidence crimes involving hokey voodoo magic and money multiplying schemes are on the rise in Dubai, which is seen by many as a land of opportunity, not least by the fraudsters.

Police say they dealt with 28 such crimes so far this year, up from 18 in 2003. The police also recently set up a hotline for the public to call to help catch the crooks involved.

The numbers might be small compared to global figures, but police say more and more of the city’s one million people are falling prey to the fraudsters.

One of the most notorious cases took place in Dubai in 1998, when an impressionable branch manager of a leading bank stole over 0 million from his employer, which he passed on to a charismatic African businessman.

When police asked why he did it, the manager said he had fallen under a black magic spell and was compelled against his will to pilfer the money.

This global problem persists in Dubai today, where stories of people being conned feature regularly in the local press.

“The people who fall for these things have big dreams of making fast money,” said Abdul Hamid Ahmed, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Gulf News.

“There’s a lot of money here at the moment. This attracts criminals who are able to take advantage of the gullible.”

Sting operations

It is not difficult to see why these grifters are attracted to this affluent city, which is growing at a rapid rate. Millions have flocked to work in Dubai from across the globe, all hoping to grab their piece of the prosperity pie.

“These crimes are a real headache,” said Captain Wesam bin Darrai, head of a Dubai police strike team that carries out sting operations to catch the fraudsters.

“People fall for them through simple greed and stupidity. The criminals come mostly from Africa and target Arabs who they see as having lots of money,” he said.

The scams often involve bizarre voodoo rituals where potions are concocted and animals are sacrificed.

Darrai recalls how he once visited a colourfully dressed African magician who promised to conjure up bundles of cash using a bucket, a bed sheet and some chanting.

“The man stripped down to his underwear and threw the blanket over himself and the bucket. He then began chanting to summon a spirit that would steal money from the bank accounts of the undeserving rich,” the captain said while chuckling.

The mystic then emerged from beneath the blanket to reveal the Robin Hood-like spirit had left a bill in the bucket.

“He said that if I wanted more I would have to give him 10,000 UAE dirhams (,723) to buy ten black cows that would be sacrificed to appease the spirit,” Darrai said.

He returned later that day with the money and arrested the witch doctor as soon as he took hold of the cash.

Darrai believes the crimes first appeared in Dubai in the early 1990s, about the same time the city embarked on a rapid expansion plan which has seen it quickly become the trade and tourism hub of the oil-rich Gulf region.

Fellow economic crime officer Fahad al Bannai says one of the most popular get-rich-quick schemes involves pieces of black carbon paper the shape and size of dollar bills.

“The criminals say these are in fact dollars covered in a special black ink devised by the CIA,” he said.

“The victims are asked to hand over money to buy the special chemical needed to wash off the ink. A Saudi businessman was conned out of one million dollars this way.”

E-mail swindles

Confidence crooks have also started to target Dubai through the Internet.

A government official told Reuters he had spent months e-mailing someone claiming to have access to million dollars in a major Dubai bank. “The sender said I would be a given a cut of the money if I sent him my bank account details,” he said.

He eventually managed to wheedle out information about the scam, which he gave to the bank.

“These sorts of e-mails are nothing new,” he said. “But the fact that one of them specifically mentioned Dubai means it has become so well known among these criminals.”
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#2
Spain police crack witchcraft con

Police in Spain have arrested seven Brazilians suspected of cheating people out of thousands of euros by claiming to be clairvoyants and witch doctors.

The roving group advertised themselves as healers and spiritualists on fliers and in newspapers across Spain.

They claimed they could help deal with anything from diseases to curses in return for large sums of money.

Catalan police said the group exploited the desperation of the people who replied to their adverts.

Investigators said the "con artists" had said bad things would happen to their clients if they did not pay up.

Earnings unknown

The group spent short periods in different cities, setting themselves up in a flat which they adorned with ornaments and ritual objects to make it look authentic.

After performing the "con" they moved on to another town.

Police do not yet know how much money the gang made as many of their victims are too embarrassed to come forward.

But police said that in the northern Navarra region alone they took more than one million euros (£700,000) and in Sabadell near Barcelona, seven victims paid the group a total of 60,000 euros (£42,000).

Other scams are believed to have been carried out in Tarragona, Pamplona, Jaen, Oviedo and Burgos.

The five men and two women have no residency papers and are expected to be deported.

-------------------
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/e ... 168751.stm

Published: 2005/01/12 16:32:57 GMT

© BBC MMV
 
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#3
Gangs use voodoo in Nigeria sex trade

Police seek help from Christian groups

Thursday, May 19, 2005 Posted: 6:57 PM EDT (2257 GMT)


ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- If she runs away from her life of prostitution, her parents will become sick and die.

At least that's what this Nigerian woman believes. The threatened curse, she claims, was part of a voodoo rite performed in her homeland just weeks before she was brought to Greece by a prostitution ring.

"I have no doubt in its power," says the petite 24-year-old, who goes by the alias of Maria and described being forced into seven-night-a-week duty at a flophouse brothel on an Athens back street. "Even if I had a doubt, how could I risk the life of my mother and father?"

Maria's case illustrates one of the least understood corners of the sex slavery underworld: gangs using the perceived potency of native West African voodoo and hexes to hold women in their grip. Recently, however, an unusual alliance has started fighting back.

One of Nigeria's new anti-prostitution inspectors is turning to Christian-affiliated groups to confront a system that -- even by conservative estimates -- may hold sway over at least 10,000 Nigerian women forced to work as prostitutes in Western Europe.

"We cannot fight this by police work alone," said Muhammad Babandede, the chief investigator for a Nigerian task force against human trafficking. "We need the faith groups on our side."

One of the most recent collaborations is being formed in Athens, a chief crossroads for prostitution smugglers from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.

An Illinois-based evangelical society is working with Babandede and other experts in voodoo culture on strategies to persuade the West African women -- mostly Nigerian Christians -- to reject the curses and seek help from authorities.

The group, Lost Coin, started counseling and prayer sessions this year aimed at shattering the voodoo influence by evoking the even greater might of God.

"These women believe in voodoo and all kinds of lesser gods, but most are also Christian and believe in the one almighty God who is above all," said Jennifer Roemhildt, who leads the Athens team for Lost Coin. Her organization is affiliated with International Teams, a nondenominational missionary group headquartered in the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Elgin.

"God can undo the voodoo," she added. "It just takes a while to convince them of this."

Babandede offers a more blunt message: "Voodoo is just a myth, not a reality."

But, in practice, it's not so simple.

'Spiritual terrorism'

Faith in the power of voodoo -- sometimes called juju -- is deeply ingrained in West African culture. It's a direct link to ancient ancestor-based beliefs that include a wide variety of spirits and other supernatural entities, and it forms the base for rituals brought to the Caribbean and elsewhere.

In West Africa, voodoo priests still are often used to seal financial transactions or root out suspected thieves -- often with a threat of a deadly curse for the wrongdoer.

Prostitution gangs parlay this fear to their advantage, Babandede said. Thousands of women and girls seeking transport to Europe -- sometimes with false promises of legal work -- undergo voodoo rituals that can involve drinking blood from cuts and taking nail and hair clippings as totems.

God can undo the voodoo.
-- Jennifer Roemhildt, who leads the Athens team for Lost Coin
"They are told that fleeing the traffickers will bring death to them or their family," said Babandede, who addressed a recent human trafficking conference in Turin, Italy, one of the hubs for Nigerian-based prostitution networks. "This is a heavy power over these women."

It is also something difficult for most authorities to comprehend.

The international prostitution trade in Europe is mostly built upon other methods of bondage: holding women in prison-like conditions or setting impossibly high repayment sums in exchange for their passports and IDs. For some women who manage to escape, the ordeal is finally over.

"But in the cases of voodoo, it can be just beginning," said the Rev. Tom Marfo, a Ghanian-born Pentecostal pastor who operates mission houses around Amsterdam that specialize in helping West African women break from prostitution gangs. "They think, 'Oh no, the curses will begin.' I tell them to have faith that the true God will not let this happen."

Dutch authorities have taken notice. Marfo is increasingly consulted to understand the centuries-old rituals behind the Nigeria prostitution rings.

"This is more than a police issue. This is an issue of native spirituality -- a kind of spiritual terrorism being used on these women," said Marfo. "You need religious people and the power of faith to fight this."

-----------------
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
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#4
Another Voodoo conwoman.

A London-based nurse has been convicted of trafficking five Nigerian women into Germany to work as prostitutes after subjecting them to "voodoo" rituals.

Josephine Iyamu forced the women to swear oaths to hand over money to her during "juju" ceremonies.

Iyamu, 51, formerly of Bermondsey, was convicted of five counts of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jurors also found her guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The rituals saw the women forced to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and have powder rubbed into cuts, the court heard.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-44645937
 

RaM

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#6
I tell scam callers that I have put a curse on them and there family, and bad things will happen, they never ring again, magic is a powerful thing to people that believe.
 
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