A fortune teller who does business in Riverside has been arrested on suspicion of fraud for allegedly telling a customer she had parasites and receiving more than $50,000 from her to get rid of them, police announced Friday.
Andres Pena Meneses, 31, was arrested this week on felony charges on suspicion of grand theft and theft by false pretenses after detectives searched a search warrant at his business, the Riverside Police Department said in a news release.
The investigation into Meneses and his fortune teller business located in the 3500 block of Arlington Avenue began during the summer, police said.
“Detectives learned a female victim visited the business to have her fortune read. The suspect was described as a Colombian national who went by the name ‘Carlos,’ convinced the victim she had parasites in her body, to which she paid him several hundred dollars to clear her of,” police said in a statement.
The victim told police “Carlos” contacted her again and said she and her family were cursed and that he needed more money “to rid her of it.”
Police said Meneses also told the victim her children were “also in trouble” and wound up receiving more than $50,000 from her.
During the search of fortune teller’s business, Riverside detectives located a significant amount of cash, a voodoo doll, tarot cards, altars, religious and satanic type objects and a small live snake.
“While at the business conducting the search, several customers arrived and told detectives Mr. Meneses instructed them to bring their bed mattress from home. They went on to say Mr. Meneses and his staff would cut open the mattress and claim to have found the live snake inside with demonic type items and letters stating the victims’ family was in danger,” police added.
The snake appeared to be a small pet python, according to police.
Meneses had a prior arrest and conviction in late 2019 in Chicago for a similar fraud in which he portrayed himself as a “faith healer” and stole money from victims, police said.
Other victims told police Meneses advertised his services on the radio, and he would tell them they were “cursed and to pay him money in order to rid them of their ailments such as diabetes, headaches, sleep disorders and nightmares.”
Meneses was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center but was later released after posting $57,000 bail.
Detectives believe there are other people who have been victimized by Andres Pena Meneses who have not yet come forward. If you believe you are a victim or you have additional information regarding this investigation, contact Detective Cory Camp at 951-353-7117 or CCamp@RiversideCA.gov.