Hampstead 'faith healer' jailed for £1m fraud
- 30 May 2014
- From the section London
A north London woman who posed as a faith healer to con victims out of £1m to fund her extravagant lifestyle has been jailed for 10 years.
Juliette D'Souza posed as a shaman for more than 12 years to trick 11 people.
She said the money would be used as a spiritual offering to cure health problems, including terminal illnesses and infertility.
The 59-year-old from Hampstead said the money was a "sacrifice" and that it would be hung in the Amazon rainforest.
There, she said, two other shamans would perform rituals around the money before it was sent back and their problems resolved.
The money was instead used to buy designer handbags, luxury holidays and antique furniture.
Many of D'Souza's victims were financially ruined, with one man left "as poor as a church mouse", the court heard.
D'Souza also "remorselessly extracted" more than £200,000 from an elderly woman over several years.
On Thursday she was convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court of 23 counts of obtaining property by deception and fraud relating to victims targeted between January 1998 and June 2010.
Judge Ian Karsten QC said she had cast a "spell" over her victims and persuaded them to hand over the money or face "terrifying" consequences.
"It is the worst case of confidence fraud I have ever had to deal with, or indeed that I have ever heard of," he said.
"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."