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updated: 7/25/2014 8:37 PM

Aurora police investigating spiritual healer scam

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Authorities are investigating a scam staged by a woman claiming to be a spiritual healer who inveigled three people out of nearly $8,000 since early July, Aurora police said.

The suspect, who went by the name of Esperanza and operated out of an apartment on the 700 block of High Street, apparently distributed fliers that advertised spiritual advice and healing, according to a police department news release.

The victims were a 45-year-old man from Amboy, a 32-year-old woman from Aurora and a 43-year-old woman from Montgomery. All told police the suspect promised to improve their financial fortunes if they gave her thousands of dollars in cash that she would "pray" over. They were then instructed to return to the apartment at a future date to retrieve their money. However, when the victims went back to the apartment, no one answered the door, and when they tried to contact the suspect by phone, no one picked up. Police said it appears that she has since left the area.

Esperanza is described as a female Hispanic in her late 30s, who is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and heavyset, with dark hair.

Anyone with information should call Aurora Police investigators at (630) 256-5500 or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000. Callers to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and qualify for a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to any arrests. Tips can also be submitted through the Aurora Police Department's free app, which is available through iTunes, the Android Market, or Amazon App Store.

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