Fortune telling fraud scheme leads to prison for orchestrators


Date: December 8, 2022


MIAMI — A family curse, fortune telling, and swindling a victim out of more than $3 million lands orchestrators in prison.

Michael Paul Guzman was sentenced to 38 months in prison and Samantha Stevens was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles for orchestrating a fortune telling fraud scheme and money laundering.

According to court documents, Stevens was portraying herself as a psychic/fortune teller in 2012 when she met a victim in Miami. Stevens gained the victim's trust and convinced her that a curse had been placed on her and her family. Stevens claimed she needed to perform rituals on large sums of money in order to lift the curse. Failure to do so—the victim was led to believe—would result in harm to her and her family.

Stevens and Guzman spent the victim's money on vehicles, property, and casino gambling. The relationship between Stevens and the victim lasted several years. During this time, the victim was persuaded to give up more than $3 million. The scheme came to an end in 2016 when Stevens cut off communication with the victim after she no longer could pay for the rituals. Once Stevens severed the relationship, the victim contacted federal law enforcement.

In addition to the prison sentence, the defendants must pay $3.198 million in restitution to the victim.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

IRS-CI, Miami Field Office, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Haggerty prosecuted it and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone is handling asset forfeiture.