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Samantha Stevenson Charged Under 'Witchcraft' Provisions

Yes, it's a real law.

A second woman in Ontario has been charged under the Criminal Code's still-lingering witchcraft provisions after she allegedly scammed an elderly man out of over $600,000.

York Regional Police charged 27-year-old Samantha Stevenson, who also goes by Evanna Lopez, with pretending to practise witchcraft, fraud over $5,000, and possession of property obtained by crime after a year-long investigation.

The 67-year-old man told police that Stevenson, who claimed to be a psychic, convinced him to sell his house and send her the money in order to ward off "evil spirits." She allegedly promised to return the money to him once the spirits left but instead asked him for another $6,000 to burn to keep more spirits away.

The victim reportedly sold his car to meet her demands.

Second case in recent weeks

Last week a 32-year-old Milton, Ont. woman was also charged under witchcraft provisions after she allegedly defrauded a victim of more than $60,000.

Police said the charge of "pretending to practise witchcraft" is intended for suspects who fraudulently claim to have supernatural abilities like fortune-telling, sorcery, enchantment, or other similar abilities to con victims into giving up money and valuables, and doesn't target any specific religion or group.

Police, however, may not be able to charge people with "witchcraft" for much longer. Proposed legislation in the form of Bill C-51 plans to remove witchcraft, duelling and other "obsolete" offences from the Criminal Code.

The perpetrators of scams like this usually tell victims they find on the street that they are surrounded by evil spirits and that a love one will soon die if they do nothing and proceed to ask for money or valuables to get rid of the spirits.

Police are also asking any other victims to come forward.

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