Back in July, police in New York announced they were looking for a group of female grifters involved in a "Chinese blessing scam" that has taken off in Brooklyn's Asian neighborhoods, reports Jezebel. The women were said to eavesdrop on conversations to figure out what problems a person was having, then approach the person claiming to have "special powers" to solve said problems—for the right price. Now police have allegedly caught one of those women, 44-year-old Xeukun Su of China, and accused her of approaching two different victims over the spring and summer and running off with $160,000. In Brooklyn, Xuekun faces eight counts including grand larceny as a hate crime, which carries a 25-year max sentence. She's being held on $250,000 bond and has been charged similarly in Queens.
Xuekun allegedly convinced a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant in April to hand over $140,000 cash and gold jewelry in a bag because her family was cursed; she said the objects would be blessed, and that the woman shouldn't open the bag for a long time in order to break the curse. (When the woman opened the bag, it was empty.) A second woman, a 54-year-old Chinese immigrant, suffered the same fate in June with $19,000 cash and more gold jewelry. But the New York Post reports that Xuekun's attorney says she is a victim herself, having been smuggled into the country with the promise of a better life: "She was told that she had to do certain things. She did not want to do these things. Her involvement was little, if any." Police are urging the public, especially in the Chinese community, to "avoid falling prey" to the scam. (This con has a happy ending.)