A con artist posing as a mystic siphoned almost $160,000 in cash and other valuables from a couple of elderly Chinese women in Brooklyn, New York after promising to save them from evil spirits.
The con, dubbed as the “Chinese blessing scam,” had 44-year-old Xeukun Su convince potential victims that a curse may lead to their own or their loved ones’ deaths, unless they handed her money and jewelry for some divine “blessing.”
Being told that the only way to avoid the curse’s harm was to give up cash and 24-karat gold jewelry to Xeukun and her accomplices, the victims allowed themselves to be duped, according to the New York Post.
Among the victims was a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant who, after she was approached on April 27 near Bay 22nd and 86th Street in Bensonhurst, handed over $140,000 cash and several gold jewelry. The scam artists told her to place the valuables in a bag to be returned after the blessing. She was warned not to open the bag “for many days in order to break the curse.” When she finally peeked inside, she found all of her money and jewelry were gone.
On June 22, a 54-year-old Chinese immigrant was conned out of $19,000 in cash and gold jewelry in a similar scheme around 48th Street in Sunset Park.
Xuekun faces eight counts of various crimes with the Brooklyn Supreme Court. Among the charges includes grand larceny, which carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
In defense of his client, lawyer Morris Shamuil painted the suspect as a victim herself with no other option but to con other people. Xuekun, who was held on $250,000 bail, reportedly faces similar charges victimizing elderly Chinese in Queens, NY.
“This case is not dissimilar from a lot of prostitution rings,” Morris said during Xuekun’s arraignment. “She was smuggled into this country and promised citizenship and the taste of the American dream. She was told that she had to do certain things. She did not want to do these things. Her involvement was little, if any.”
In a statement, Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez urged members of the Chinese community in the area to warn family members about such scams.
“This is the second blessing scam we’ve indicted in as many months, in which brazen con men and women walk off with the life savings of their victims,” he said.