A woman operating a storefront psychic reading shop in downtown Hopkins has pleaded guilty to swindling two clients out of tens of thousands of dollars each by claiming she could rid them of curses.
Cynthia J. Evans, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft by swindle in Hennepin County District Court in connection with her deceptions while she operated Psychic Readings on the second floor of a building in the 800 block of Mainstreet.
Officer Christopher Harriman of the Hopkins Police Department said in a statement Wednesday that a plea agreement came after "two years of investigation, hundreds of case documents, dozens of police reports and endless follow up."
Harriman said Evans was accused of "stealing from, manipulating and targeting vulnerable adults who visited her business [until it closed] to the tune of over $100,000."
The plea agreement calls for Evans to be on probation for five years, serve no more than 90 days in jail and make restitution to her victims. As part of the deal, two related felony counts will be dropped when she is sentenced Oct. 3.
Under the plea deal, the conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor if she successfully complies with the terms of her probation.
When she was charged in October, Evans defended her interactions with the two clients.
"I recommend things that help," the criminal complaint quoted her as telling police. "I give them guidance. … Everybody needs a spiritual life coach. … There should be more people out there like me."
According to the complaint, Evans cheated a 30-year-old Hopkins man with mental health and developmental disorders out of nearly $90,000. She started by providing him with somewhat inexpensive tarot card readings before telling him he was under a "multigenerational curse."
She persuaded him to pay her for 30 candles at $100 each, one for each year of his life. However, there was no evidence that she bought the candles, explaining to him that she used them in a secret ceremony that was too dangerous for him to attend.
She later coaxed him into buying a Rolex watch for $14,000. Evans told him he needed to give her the watch to "work with" as part of overcoming the curse. Through an attorney, she eventually gave her victim the watch.
Evans also used one of the man's credit cards to pay herself $10,000 and collected $5,000 from him for a crystal, which he never saw, that she claimed was to get his recently deceased father out of purgatory and into heaven.
All the while, Evans told the man he would get back tenfold what he had given her, which totaled $87,886.61 in money or possessions.
The other victim, a 64-year-old woman from Minnetonka, had been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004. She turned to Evans in hopes of attracting a particular person romantically and ended up paying her about $40,000. The woman paid $10,000 so Evans could buy a crystal the client never saw.
Evans told the woman, "You have me, you don't need a therapist," the complaint read. She also had the woman turn over $5,428 from a life insurance policy while telling her that death has been stalking her throughout her life.