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Mississauga, Ont. man charged with pretending to practise witchcraft

In this file photo, RCMP cordon off a crime scene using police tape

JOHN LEHMANN/The GLOBE AND MAI

A 40-year-old Mississauga man has a court date next month on charges that include pretending to practice witchcraft.

Gustavo Valencia Gomez, who self-publishes a Spanish language newspaper, "el Negocia Redondo," included in it a promotion advertising his services as a "healer," Toronto police say.

The ad explained that Mr. Gomez's services were available at an address on Dufferin Street in Toronto, as well as in London, Ont., and Montreal.

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Among those who responded to his offer, police said, was a 56-year-old woman suffering from a range of physical ailments.

Using "spells and rituals," Mr. Gomez is alleged to have persuaded her that she and her family were cursed, and that for a sum of money – $14,000 – he could get rid of the curse.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Gomez was arrested and charged with fraud over $5,000, false pretences, possession of the proceeds of crime and pretending to practice witchcraft, a summary (less serious) offence that carries no minimum or maximum penalties under the Criminal Code.

Police suspect there may be other victims.

Anyone with information is urged to call the 13 Division police station at 416-808-1370, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com.

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