Cash cleaner cleans out seven families

Señora Monica said she was good at cleansing money.

Turns out, she wasn’t good at returning it.

Lakewood police are searching for the woman who promised to cleanse money of evil for at least seven Hispanic families. One family told investigators they lost $90,000 to $100,000. The other victims said they lost a couple thousand dollars each.

The families gave Señora Monica the money and were supposed to have their final session with her Sunday night at a small store in the 8600 block of South Tacoma Way, police Lt. Heidi Hoffman said Tuesday.

She never showed, and now the families are out nearly $140,000.

Detectives are not sure of the woman’s real name and have discovered that much of the information on the business license for the South Tacoma Way store – Botanica Centro de Consultas – is false.

They’re working to identify Señora Monica and the man who got the license, Hoffman said. The cell phone number listed on Señora Monica’s business card went straight to voice mail Tuesday.

No arrests have been made.

The victims told police they met Señora Monica at a nearby swap meet or heard her advertisements on a Spanish-language radio station, Hoffman said. She advertised that she could help with “all your problems.”

On her business card, Señora Monica listed her services as: Reads cards, reads palms, performs cleansings, interprets dreams, reunites loved ones, sexual deficiencies, cures nervous disorders, employment problems, alcoholism and drug addiction.

“Don’t suffer anymore,” the card reads. “If you can’t have children, call me. Performs spells, counter spells and love spells.”

Some victims had Tarot card readings with Señora Monica at the swap meet and decided to have her cleanse their money. Some of the sessions took place at the South Tacoma Way store, which also sold candles, incense and other items, Hoffman said.

Money changed hands, and the victims set up a final meeting for Sunday night when they would receive the cleansed cash and pay a gratuity – whatever they felt was appropriate for the work performed, Hoffman said.

“Señora Monica never showed up,” she said.

Officers were called to talk with the angry victims.

Investigators have learned that a man got a business license and paid cash in June to rent out the storefront on South Tacoma Way. A closed sign now hangs on the door.

A call to the store Tuesday went unanswered.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268