Deputies: 'Money cleansers' were scam artists

- Two women, who advertised themselves as card and palm readers, and money cleansers, were actually scam artists according to Manatee County sheriff’s deputies.

They claimed to cleanse – or bless – money, but investigators said they were scamming those who asked for their help.

The two even paid to advertise their services on a local radio station.

The general manager at WBRD 1420 AM, Ramiro Lerma said Rosalita Santos and Alejandra Solis appeared to be two average customers wanting to advertise when they arrived at the station.

"They were real nice. They said god bless you and stuff like that," Lerma said."They presented themselves real holy."

He said the women came to the station in August, wanting to advertise their services. The general manager said they never mentioned money healing in the commercial.

"We know better. How can you take money to be healed like that? There has to be a cutoff somewhere. We wouldn't play that type of commercial. We don't believe in that; In that we know that it is a scam," Lerma explained.

Manatee detectives said there could be victims in other counties and even across the state. Deputies caught up with them last week in Pinellas County, after following a string of aliases.

It turns out; claiming to cleanse money wasn't their only scam.

Dave Bristow with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said, "in one of the cases, a person brought them a very large amount of money and it was wrapped up in tin foil, and they asked them to bless the money."

There were three cases Manatee detectives followed. In two of them, the women took the money – promising to cleanse the cash – and never returned it. In a third case, the women took the money, but returned counterfeit cash to the victim instead. .

"They prey on people's trust. These people are going to them legitimately, to want to get their money blessed, whatever. The next thing you know, they are out thousands of dollars," Bristow explained.

The two were arrested and have since bonded out of jail. Now, deputies are warning people to watch out for them.

"The cases are, they probably won't come back to this area, because this is where they got busted, but you never know," Bristow said.

Investigators believe a man also helped out in the scams.

He has not been charged. Detectives hope anyone who may have been a victim of this scam will call the manatee county sheriff’s office.  

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