A Florida woman who claimed she was a psychic and convinced a woman in Houston, Texas she was cursed was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and will have to pay the woman $1.6 million.
28-year-old Sherry Tina Uwanawich met the unidentified woman in 2007 when the woman was a medical student suffering from depression following the death of her mother. Uwanawich told the woman that her mom's death was the result of a witches curse and offered to help lift it.
She claimed to have "God-given powers" and told the woman she "needed large sums of money to purchase items, such as crystals, candles and the like, which were needed for meditation work in order to lift the curse." If the woman failed to pay, Uwanawich warned her that harm would come to her and her family.
Over the years, Uwanawich managed to scam between $550,000 and $1.5 million from the woman, including hundreds of thousands of dollars the woman received from an inheritance after her father's death.
The arrangement lasted for seven years and continued after Uwanawich moved to southern Florida. Uwanawich eventually came clean in 2014 and told the woman she was lying about the curse. She then suggested the two should write a book together, but expected the woman to spend $30,000 to get the book published. Uwanawich promised to pay her back and estimated they could make $30 million from the book's sales.
Instead of agreeing to work on the book, the woman reached out to Bob Nygaard, a retired New York police officer and private investigator who specializes in psychic fraud. He helped compile her case and sent it over to authorities in Florida.
While local officials failed to follow up on the case, the FBI eventually looked into after consulting Nygaard on another case.
Uwanawich was charged with three counts of wire fraud but worked out a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Photo: Broward County Sheriff's Office