Spanish-language newspaper publisher accused of witchcraft swindle


TORONTO -- A Spanish-language newspaper publisher accused of swindling a woman by pretending to practise witchcraft was ordered Tuesday to appear in a North York court on Dec. 28.

He was arrested by Toronto Police after a woman claimed a man posing as a healer took $14,000 from her.

Investigators said the accused warlock advertised his services as a "healer" on radio and in printed publications.

Investigators said a 56-year-old woman paid about $14,000 and participated in spells that were performed after she sought "assistance for ongoing physical ailments."

Police alleged a man told the woman her family was cursed and he could lift the spell for a price.

Police issued a public alert, fearing other people may have responded to ads and paid for bogus healings.

Gustavo Valencia Gomez, 40, of Mississauga, ON faces charges that include pretending to practise witchcraft and fraud over $5,000.

Gomez publishes the "el Negocia Redondo" newspaper, which advertises his services at 2019A Dufferin St. and also in London, Ont., and Montreal, police said.

Its online edition Tuesday carried several overseas news service stories in Spanish and advertisements for free fortune-telling, weight-reduction medicine, medication that cures a variety of ailments, sex enhancements and a dating site.

With its name translated in English to "The Business Round Canada," and boasting a circulation of 5,000, the paper's masthead includes circulation sites for Toronto GTA, Hamilton, London, Montreal, St. Catharines, Windsor, Leamington and Kitchener-Waterloo.

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