Jailed: London ‘shaman’ who preyed on the gullible
JULIETTE D’Souza convinced a range of people to hand over money to save the lives of loved ones, avoid being made redundant or cure a variety of illnesses.
Among the London fraudester’s victims was 82-year-old former opera singer Sylvia Eaves, who was duped out of more than £350,000 over 12 years and retired solicitor Richard Collier-Wright, who paid her £7,000 to cure his terminal leukaemia.
D’Souza conned nearly £1m out of 11 victims over 12 years.
According to this report, the judge in her trial at Blackfriars Crown Court said that perhaps the “most upsetting” victim was one who gave D’Souza £176,000 over several years to help her get pregnant.
When she actually fell pregnant, D’Souza told her to have an abortion as the unborn child would be “deformed” and “ill”.
While she funded an extravagant lifestyle , many of her 11 victims were left in financial ruin, with one elderly woman having more than £200,000 “remorselessly extracted” from her over 12 years.
D’Souza, 59, from Hampstead, north London, was jailed for 10 years today (Friday) after being convicted of 23 counts of obtaining property by deception and fraud between 1998 and 2010.
Judge Ian Karsten QC said she had cast a “spell” over her victims and told them to hand over large amounts of money or face “terrifying” consequences.
D’Souza visited Suriname and claimed to send money there as a “sacrifice”
The judge said:
It is the worst case of confidence fraud I have ever had to deal with or indeed that I have ever heard of. The most serious aspect of this case is that you wrecked the lives of a number of your victims and you have done it out of pure greed.
The court heard that D’Souza told her victims the money would be used as a spiritual offering and hung off a “special, sacred tree” in the Amazonian rainforest.
In fact she used the proceeds to fund an extravagant lifestyle, spending her cash on a £3,000 Hermes handbag, luxury holidays and antique furniture among other items.
The total amount she defrauded in relation to the charges on the indictment was £908,400, but on the evidence given by victims the final sum was closer to £1m.
Among the places she advertised was Tatler magazine, saying she charged just £35 for a consultation.
But she then demanded large sums for the “sacrifices” she claimed were being sent to Suriname in South America.
The self-proclaimed healer claimed to have helped cure actor John Cleese’s daughter of cancer, boasted that she had known Princess Diana and said she could introduce a young singer to Simon Cowell.
One victim was told to pay £18,000 or her partner would die.
Speaking after the sentence, Mrs Eaves said:
I feel terribly sad that somebody who is so clever would resort to that, especially as she was a friend of mine. I feel terribly let down that she could behave like that.