Andres Pena Meneses, a southern California “fortune teller,” has been arrested on charges of theft, Riverside Police announced on Facebook Friday.

Authorities said Meneses, 31, defrauded his clients by charging tens of thousands of dollars to rid his clients of “parasites” and to lift “curses.” 

Meneses was released on $57,000 shortly after his arrest, and will face charges of grand theft and theft by false pretences — alleged crimes which will be prosecuted as felonies, police told ABC-7

Andres Pena Meneses, a Riverside, California fortune teller, was charged with gran theft and theft by false pretenses on Friday, police said.
Andres Meneses, a Riverside was charged with gran theft and theft by false pretenses on Friday, police said. Photo credit: Riverside Police

Police: Fortune Teller Andres Pena Meneses a Fraud

Officials said the investigation into Meneses began over the summer, when police learned that a Riverside woman was charged “several hundred dollars” by a “fortune teller” to be “clear[ed]” of “parasites.” 

The man —  who was reportedly described to police as a “Colombian national” named “Carlos” —  later contacted the woman again and said that “she and her family were cursed and he needed more money to rid her of it,” police said. 

“He continued to convince the victim her children were also in trouble, and through his false pretenses, the victim ended up paying ‘Carlos’ over $50,000 dollars,” authorities wrote.  

Detectives eventually identified ‘Carlos’ as Andres Meneses of Riverside, who police said was previously convicted in 2019 “for a similar fraud in which he portrayed himself as a ‘faith healer’ and stole money from victims.”

More details on Meneses’ prior conviction was not immediately available Friday. 

Disturbing Items Found in Fortune Teller’s Lair

Riverside Police said that search warrants for Meneses’ home and business turned up “a voodoo doll,” a deck of “tarot cards,” “altars,” and various “religious and satanic type objects” which were not further described. 

Police said they found this 'voodoo doll' and these tarot cards in the Riverside, California home of fortune teller Andres Pena Menses, who arrested for theft Friday.
Police said they found this ‘voodoo doll’ and these tarot cards in the Riverside, California home of fortune teller Andres Pena Menses, who arrested for theft Friday. Photo credit; Riverside Police

Photos posted by authorities also appear to show some burnt $100 bills and some hand-written notes and drawings. 

Riverside Police said they found these items in the home and business of fortune teller Andres Pena Meneses, who was charged with felony theft on Friday.
Riverside Police said they found these items in the home and business of fortune teller Andres Pena Meneses, who was charged with felony theft on Friday. Photo credit: Riverside Police

Police also reported finding a “small, live snake” which they said, along with the “satanic type objects,” was “used as part of the fraud Mr. Meneses was committing.”

According to investigators, Meneses would instruct his alleged victims to bring him the mattress from their bedroom. 

Then, police said, the fortune teller would cut open the mattress and pretend to have discovered the “small pet python” along with “demonic type items” and “letters stating the victims’ family was in danger.”

Both the snake and its “carrying container” were recovered without incident at Meneses’ place of business, authorities said. 

Riverside, California police said that fortune teller Andres Pena Meneses used this snake to 'defraud' customers. Meneses was charged with felony theft on Friday.
Riverside, California police said that fortune teller Andres Pena Meneses used this snake to ‘defraud’ customers. Meneses was charged with felony theft on Friday. Photo credit: Riverside Police

“Additional victims contacted said the suspect advertised his services on the radio,” investigators wrote on Facebook. “And he would tell them they were cursed and to pay him money in order to rid them of their ailments such as diabetes, headaches, sleep disorders, and nightmares.”

Phony Fortune Teller May Have More Victims

It’s not immediately clear how long Meneses has been operating as a “fortune teller” at his purported Arlington Avenue location in Riverside, as police have not released the name or address for his place of business. 

Riverside, California appears to have a lively psychic industry, including one fortune teller

 only two blocks from the approximate location of Meneses’ business provided by detectives

The charges against Meneses — grand theft and theft by false pretenses — can be prosecuted either as misdemeanors or felonies at the discretion of the court. Police have said Meneses will be charged for felony offenses. 

Police believe there are more victims of Meneses who have not yet been identified. Anyone with information on his alleged fraud is encouraged to contact Riverside Police at 353-7117 or ccamp@riversideca.gov.