A Manhattan psychic swindled a once-wealthy man out of more than $1 million through false promises to find him a soulmate and purge “dark spirits” through increasingly expensive rituals, a new lawsuit charges.
William Young says in his lawsuit that he met the scamming soothsayer, Shaina Samiel, in May 2021 while working at XoXo Bar, a since-closed gay bar on W. 46th St. Samiel gave readings out of a building next door.
The two became close and Young, who is bipolar and suffers from depression, became one of Samiel’s regular customers, according to the suit filed Sunday.
“Samiel told Young that his family was cursed by dark spirits and blamed them for his mental health difficulties. She claimed that the dark spirits were very strong and that so long as they were there, Young will not be able to find love or happiness or have a good relationship with his family,” Young’s lawyer wrote in a Manhattan Supreme Court complaint.
Samiel, a self-described “spiritual guide,” told her client that the power of the “arcane and occult arts” depended on how much he was willing to spend, the lawsuit claims.
Samiel ”claimed that the dark spirits were very strong and that so long as they were there, Young will not be able to find love or happiness or have a good relationship with his family,” the suit reads.
“She told him that she could perform complex rituals that would help with the situation. She said these rituals would help Young find a future soulmate and also put him in a better situation financially.”
Young’s first payment to Samiel in May 2021 was $100,000, according to the lawsuit. Later that month, he paid the psychic six times in a single week, with the payments ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, the suit says.
In June 2021, Samiel allegedly told Young that she needed a car to “gather materials for rituals, and consult and contact ‘superiors’ who were other psychics in her organization for consultation and advice about his situation,” the suit says.
Young immediately put down a $5,500 deposit and began making monthly lease payments on a vehicle for Samiel, according to the lawsuit.
A third party named in the suit, Carrio Motor Cars, said they’d never heard of Samiel or Young. Young claims to have sent $92,000 to Carrio Motor Cars at Samiel’s behest.
The alleged scam only ended when a $496,000 payment to Samiel through a third party company was blocked by Young’s bank, according to the lawsuit.
“Samiel’s taking of Young’s money was done by directly soliciting said money while holding herself out as being able to use occult powers to influence or affect evil spirits or curses, when in reality she never intended to nor could she possibly fulfill the promises she made to Young on that front,” the suit reads.
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