FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A mother and daughter who claimed to be Florida psychics and used eggs containing snake embryos to convince customers they were cursed are going to prison for fraud.
The SunSentinel reports that a federal judge on Friday sentenced Annie Marie Vwanawick, 74, to 42 months behind bars and 44-year-old April Miller to just over two years. The case involved two victims, one who was bilked out of $1.4 million and another defrauded of $10,000.
Court records show the pair claimed to be “white squaw Cherokee Indian” spiritual healers and that the snake embryos were part of their practice. One victim, identified in court only as “Mrs. O.,” said she was told she had to give the women money for “cleansing” during a divorce and then again needed to pay and turn over jewelry after her husband died because he had become a “demon.”
Defense attorneys had asked for leniency, in part citing the pair’s Gypsy heritage, but the judge imposed longer sentences than they sought because of past evidence of fraud.