Dogma Alert

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Spiritual healer steals $1 million, police say

Allegedly promised lottery winnings via numbers pulled from boiled eggs

Updated: 7:42 p.m. ET Feb. 10, 2006

UNION CITY, Calif. - A self-proclaimed spiritual healer bilked at least $1 million from 20 San Francisco Bay area residents then fled without fulfilling his promises to give out winning lottery numbers and heal their ailments, police said.

The man, who called himself Iqbal, ran radio ads targeting South Asian clients on Radio Humsafar. He was described by police as an Indian man in his mid-30s who limped and recited passages from the Quran during healing sessions. He also claimed to practice black magic.

Victims were told they would win $1 million in the California lottery for every $10,000 they gave him, said Lt. Jim Bizieff.

The scam involved a magic trick in which Iqbal said he would pull winning lottery numbers from boiled eggs. At least 20 people gave him between $10,000 and $200,000 each, but the scam artist never delivered any winning numbers and left his rented Union City house in January.


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