HOPKINS, Minn. (FOX 9) - "Psychic Cynthia" ran her business out of a second floor apartment in downtown Hopkins, just a few blocks from the Hopkins Police Department. Sgt. Michael Glassberg says they’d gotten a number of complaints from her customers over the years but couldn’t prove any crime.
Then, a man came forward with details of how he spent nearly $88,000 over two years, some of it borrowed on credit, some of it secretly taken from his mother’s retirement accounts. And he felt coerced into all of it. Police say he has a developmental disability and is considered a vulnerable adult.
"And it was not exactly a shock to us because we were aware," said Sgt. Glassberg. "We’ve had other people file some reports."
Cynthia Evans, 26, is now charged with four felony counts of Theft by Swindle and Financial Exploitation. The criminal complaint documents how two victims collectively lost more than $130,000 over two years. The second victim is a woman in her 60s who investigators discovered while going through Evans financial records.
"She talked about curses," said Sgt. Glassberg. "She talked about death following around a victim and they need to cash out their life insurance policy. Just all based on falsities and fraud."
The complaint says in the case of the first victim, Evans told him he had been "cursed at conception" and she could lift the curse with $3000 worth of candles. She collected the money, but he never saw the candles. She told him she burned them at a secret ceremony too dangerous for him to attend.
In another instance, Evans accompanied the victim to buy a $14,000 Rolex watch she told him was needed to cure his curse. She kept the watch, only returning it after the criminal investigation got underway.
All told, the man spent nearly $88,000, much of it on lines of credit, and some of it by secretly taking money from his mother’s retirement accounts. He told investigators that Evans knew this and encouraged him to keep it a secret.
The second victim, a woman in her 60s, had similar stories of being persuaded to spend thousands, even going to a bank with Evans to take out a line of credit. Investigators say Evans told the bank she was the woman’s daughter.
The woman, a cancer survivor, alleges Evans told her the "cancer would come back" if she did not continue to pay her.
Evans told investigators she did not force the first victim to buy anything, but just made recommendations. As for opening credit cards, "anything he has opened was on his time and what he wanted to do."
She refused to answer questions about the second victim, or any other customers, claiming patient confidentiality.
The downtown apartment where she lived and worked is vacant. Other tenants say she abruptly left about a year ago.
Evans is not in custody. She has her first court appearance in December.