A Bucharest court has ordered the arrest of two self-described celebrities witches, Vanessa and Melissa, on blackmail and extortion charges in a high-profile case involving a TV star and, reportedly, other public figures.
The Bucharest Appeals Court ruled Wednesday that Rada Minca (Melissa) and Roxana Lider (Vanessa) should be arrested for 29 days pending trial.
Judges decided they should be investigated while under arrest in order not to influence the witnesses.
The witches, of gypsy origin, are accused of deceit and blackmail as tens of victims filed complaints.
According to Bucharest Police spokesman Christian Ciocan, the two women approached public figures promising to help them overcome work or love difficulties and break curses. He says they initially charged very little, but as their victims became hooked on their services, increased their prices.
Last week, Romanian prosecutors have searched 13 houses in Bucharest and Ilfov County and arrested several women who had allegedly scammed people through fortune telling. The two fortune tellers, Melissa and Vanessa from Bucharest and one from Satu Mare and four of their accomplices have been arrested on allegedly taking EUR 450,000 from Romanian TV star Oana Zavoranu. Three others have submitted complaints against them so far. People who have asked for their supernatural services claim they have paid in cash and in kind: cars and jewelry.
Witches Vanessa and Melissa said they cast spells to dispel black magic and curses allegedly cast by other witches upon those asking for their services.
The alleged scam chain also included four loan sharks who lent money to victims to cover the increasing amounts the fortune tellers demanded. People even pawned their houses and cars to get the loans. According to the Romanian Police, several public notaries were also involved in the shenanigans. Those who wanted out of the scam- some of them Romanian VIPs- were then blackmailed and threatened with more curses if they did so.
According to media reports, a well-known politician, a soccer player, TV stars and others are among the alleged victims.