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Fortune Teller Used Google to Speak to the Dead

Two of Romania's top fortune tellers have been exposed as fraudsters who used Google instead of a crystal ball to gather information on their clients and trick them into parting with tens of thousands of pounds.

Witches Vanessa, 26, and Melissa, 32, claimed to have a hotline to the spirit world that also included providing spells to protect clients from the devil.

But in reality they would use high-tech surveillance equipment to gather data on their customers, which they would then pretend had been transmitted to them from the spirit world via a crystal ball to convince their victims that they really were in touch with the other side.

Victims who were amazed by the women's knowledge of their activities then paid large sums to speak to dead relatives and gain protection from evil forces.

One woman told how she had believed the two Roma women were genuine mystics, and had been persuaded to take tens of thousands of pounds and go to a nearby lake for a midnight ritual. She had been told that she had to release herself from the burden of her money and throw it all in the lake – but when she hesitated a demon like figure had emerged from the water and in a panic – she had thrown the money into the water and run away.

But police discovered that the water devil was in fact a pal of the pair who had put on diving gear and a mask to terrify the unsuspecting victim.

Police said the information gathering activities of the two witches included Googling them, looking at social network sites, tapping phone calls and using hidden cameras.

But a police investigator told local media: "Proof if any was needed they they were fraudsters came when they managed to bribe prosecutor to get the charges dropped, unfortunately the man himself was under surveillance and we arrested all three of them as they handed over the money. If they had been any good – they would have known not to try."

As well as fraud the pair are also facing charges under the National Security Act for using illegal professional surveillance equipment.

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