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Witch's Spell Bilks Lawyer out of $100K

Persaud There are good witches and there are bad witches. That much we know from "The Wizard of Oz." If the criminal charges against Vishwantee Persaud hold up, she was a witch who was both good and bad -- good at what she did but bad in her intent.

Police in Toronto allege that Persaud posed as a witch to defraud veteran criminal defense lawyer Noel Daley out of more than $100,000. She allegedly convinced Daley that she came from a long line of witches and was the embodiment of the spirit of his deceased sister, who had come back to help him in his business.

Her story cast a spell on Daley. Over the course of several months, police say, he gave the woman thousands of dollars for a variety of expenses, including tuition for law school courses in which she never enrolled and premium office space in the heart of Toronto's financial district.

Police charged Persaud under a century-old chapter of the Canadian Criminal Code that makes it a crime to pretend to exercise witchcraft, sorcery, fortune telling or conjuration for fraudulent purposes. Archaic though the law sounds, it has been used to bring charges against 38 people in Ontario in just the last decade.

Lawyer Daley was a year away from retiring when he met Persaud in January, he told the Law Times. She convinced him she was in her third year of studies at Osgoode Hall Law School and that she was considering focusing in criminal law. Within a month, he took her under his wing, set her up with space and began paying her a modest salary.

"In my career, in a couple of months, I’ll be 28 years at this. I’ve encountered every type of confidence man," Daley told the Law Times. "I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. She was the epitome of the skills that make up a good confidence man."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 10, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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