FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Woman Indicted For Hate Crime for Allegedly Stealing
$160,000 Cash and Gold Jewelry from Two Women in Separate Incidents
Defendant Pledged to Remove Curses in Elaborate “Chinese Blessing Scam”
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 44-year-old woman has been indicted on charges of grand larceny as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $160,000 in cash and numerous pieces of jewelry from two Chinese women in separate incidents after convincing them there was a curse on their families that needed to be removed through an elaborate scam.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This is the second blessing scam we’ve indicted in as many months, in which brazen con men and women walk off with the life savings of their victims. I urge those in the Chinese community to warn their vulnerable family members to be aware of these scams to avoid falling prey to them.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Xuekun Su, 44, of China. Su was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an eight-count indictment in which she is charged with second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny as a hate crime, third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime and fourth-degree grand larceny. Bail was set at $150,000 cash or $250,000 bond. The defendant was ordered to return to court on December 21, 2016. If convicted of the top count she faces up to 25 years in prison.
The Acting District Attorney said that on April 27, 2016, in the vicinity of Bay 22nd Street and 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, the defendant and unapprehended other individuals allegedly approached the victim, a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant, and engaged her in conversation, gaining her trust. The defendant and the other individuals allegedly posed as clairvoyants and convinced the victim that she or a member of her family would die because of a curse.
They allegedly convinced her that in order to rid herself of the curse she needed to gather large sums of cash and jewels to be blessed in order to remove the evil spirits surrounding her family. After the blessing, the victim was promised that the money and jewelry would be returned. The victim gathered approximately $140,000 cash and numerous pieces of 24-karat gold jewelry.
The victim then met with the defendant and others who, according to the investigation, instructed the victim to place the cash and jewels into a bag so that a “blessing” could be performed over them to remove the curse. The victim was told not to open the bag for many days in order to break the curse. She opened the bag that evening and found that all of her cash and jewelry was gone. She then contacted the police.
On June 22, 2016, in the vicinity of 48th Street in Sunset Park, the defendant and unapprehended others allegedly perpetrated this scheme again, targeting a 54-year-old Chinese immigrant. As in the earlier incident, the victim was told that a member of her family would die due to a curse. The victim was convinced that in order to have the curse removed, she had to have her valuables “blessed.” Again, the victim was promised that her money and jewelry would be returned after the blessing. The victim gathered approximately $19,000 in cash and numerous pieces of 24-karat gold jewelry, at which point the items in the bag were “blessed” and, the victim later realized, her cash and jewels were gone.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Dimitrij Prokopez and Sergeant Sean O’Hara, of the NYPD’s Grand Larceny Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Gregory Marotta, Lieutenant Robert Rattigan, Inspector John M. Denesopolis and Assistant Chief Brian McCarthy of the Criminal Enterprise Investigations.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jose Interiano of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kin Ng, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.