Author Topic: Cesar Rodriguez Gonzalez & Pensadores Positivos  (Read 6316 times)

Offline debbieredbear

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Cesar Rodriguez Gonzalez & Pensadores Positivos
« on: October 11, 2006, 05:04:12 pm »
Man charged in spiritual-healing scam
Clients paid hundreds to be rid of 'demons'
By GEORGIA PABST
gpabst@journalsentinel.com
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=511416
Posted: Oct. 10, 2006
A Colombian man who police say obtained the items he used for his "spiritual healing rituals" from Wal-Mart and admitted he tricked persons into giving him money to rid them of "demons" and "worms" was charged Tuesday with theft by fraud.

A Blend
Of Beliefs
In Mexico and many parts of Latin America, curandos employ a blend of Catholic and pre-Columbian Indian beliefs and practices. 
Recent Coverage
10/7/06: Spell broken: Police call healer a thief
 
Cesar A. Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 27, told police he came to Milwaukee about three months ago and has lived in a duplex in the 1100 block of S. 20th St., according to the criminal complaint.

He said he ran a business called Pensadores Positivos (Positive Thinkers) that he advertised on Spanish-language radio station WDDW-FM (104.7), the complaint says; paperwork found in his apartment indicated he spent more than $35,000 with the station since May. He said he advertised himself as a spiritual healer able to cure problems of money, love and health, although he has no formal training in religion, healing, medicine, counseling or psychotherapy, according to the complaint.

In Mexico and many parts of Latin America, curandos employ a blend of Catholic and pre-Columbian Indian beliefs and practices.

Although Rodriguez-Gonzalez contended he has helped some people, he also admitted "it was all really in their mind," the complaint says.

The complaint alleges that he told Jorge Ornelas that he had demons in his stomach, knowing that was not true. It says he demanded $1,500 from Ornelas, who came to his house Thursday with only $900.

Rodriguez-Gonzalez said he told Ornelas he had already performed "rituals" but that he needed to return with another payment of $1,500 to get the last demon out and that he would die if he did not get the treatment, the complaint says.

"The defendant admits that he knows that what he did was wrong and that he is sorry for his acts," says the complaint filed by Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce J. Landgraf.

Luis Martinez-Andeola told police he paid $500 to Rodriguez-Gonzalez, who conducted a ritual with tarot cards and told him that he was having foot problems because his foot was cursed, the complaint says; then he demanded another $1,000 for treatment he never performed.

Another man, Francisco Ruiz, told police he paid Rodriguez-Gonzalez $2,300 to treat what he said were worms in the man's stomach that were causing him problems.

Police said Rodriguez-Gonzalez's residence was heavily decorated with occult and religious items including statues of Christ and Buddha, skeletons, skulls and candles. Police also found an appointment book for August and September that showed more than 100 appointments.

Airline tickets to Miami were found in Rodriguez-Gonzalez's 2004 Audi Quattro.

If convicted, Rodriguez-Gonzalez faces a maximum fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 3 1/2 years or both.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 11:12:20 pm by educatedindian »

Offline WINative

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Re: Man charged in spiritual-healing scam
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 07:37:47 pm »
A Colombian man who came to town, set up shop as a curandero, or healer, and bilked Latinos out of more than $60,000 was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and two years of extended supervision.

As part of a plea agreement, Cesar Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 27, also agreed to pay back $30,000 to 18 victims who came to him for healing.

"You took advantage of very vulnerable people and exploited their problems," said Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Timothy Dugan. "You preyed on them and their medical problems and threatened them if they didn't pay more, they would get worse. . . . You stole their money."

Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf said Rodriguez-Gonzalez , who had been in Milwaukee about three months when he was arrested in October 2006, carried out a "well-planned, well-thought-out scheme to exploit the religious and cultural beliefs. It was particularly mean."

Rodriguez-Gonzalez took advantage of people, including some who speak Spanish and may be undocumented and, therefore, could be viewed as unlikely to complain to English-speaking authorities, he said.

But Landgraf said Rodriguez-Gonzalez immediately acknowledged to police that he didn't have healing powers and cooperated with authorities. He secured $30,000 from his family in Colombia as partial restitution.

Although the list of potential victims includes 18 names, many could not be located, Landgraf said.

Luis Martinez, one of the victims, made a statement through an interpreter. "I haven't worked for five months. I need my money. All I want is the funds returned," he said.

'I am very sorry'

Defense attorney Robert Courtney said Rodriguez-Gonzalez is "soft-spoken, respectful with a lot of good traits." He said no guns or violence was involved, and that in agreeing to the restitution, Rodriguez-Gonzalez "tried to do the right thing."

Speaking in Spanish through an interpreter, Rodriguez-Gonzalez said: "I've had time to reflect and realize my mistake. I want to start my life again. I am very sorry for the mistake I made. I will never make it again. I want to spend the rest of my life repaying my family and make up for what I did."

In sentencing him, Dugan noted that Rodriguez-Gonzalez had cooperated with authorities and had arranged to repay some of the money.

A restitution hearing was set for 8:30 a.m. June 13 to give more victims time to come forward.

Before the sentencing was over, Courtney said that arrangements would be made to pay Martinez some of the money he lost to Rodriguez-Gonzalez from the restitution trust account. After the hearing, he told Martinez to appear at his office to receive a check for $700.

Offline Sparks

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Re: Cesar Rodriguez Gonzalez & Pensadores Positivos
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2015, 09:45:23 am »
I wanted to know when the preceding post was published, and found this source:

Man gets 18-month term for healing hoax

He must pay back $30,000 to victims who sought his help

This is how it looked in print:
https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1683&dat=20070517&id=unY0AAAAIBAJ&sjid=m44EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6439,4103496&hl=en

10/7/06: Spell broken: Police call healer a thief

This is a reference to an earlier article: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29198879.html

I find it very interesting (and encouraging) that such trials take place in the U.S. Here in Scandinavia there is a growing number of similar "healers" or whatever they prefer to call themselves, but even the worst exploiters are near never brought to trial. It seems we have much weaker laws to protect the public from scammers in these countries. Also, for a number of reasons, the victims never go to the police.