THREE ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH MAIL AND WIRE FRAUD FOR PURPORTED “CLEANSING” OF EVIL SPIRITS
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gilles, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced the May 6 unsealing of an indictment charging defendants Bridgette Evans, 32, of Broward County, Polly Evans, 36, and Olivia Evans, 22, both formerly of Texas, with two counts of mail fraud and ten counts of wire fraud for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud.
The three were arrested Friday, May 6, 2011, and all made their initial appearances in federal court later that day. Defendant Bridgette Evans made her initial appearance in Fort Lauderdale before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer. Defendants Polly and Olivia Evans made their initial appearances in federal court in Forth Worth, Texas.
According to the allegations in the indictment, from January 2007 through February 2009, the defendants falsely represented to their victims that they had the power to detect the presence of evil spirits and get rid of these evil spirits and resulting illnesses through a religious cleansing. In this way, the defendants fraudulently induced the victims to send them thousands of dollars for the purported cleansings, promising to return the monies to them after the cleansings. In fact, however, the defendants did not return any of the victims’ monies. The indictment lists ten separate wire transactions, totaling $59,000, from December 2007 to October 2008.
If convicted, the defendants face maximum statutory penalties of up to 20 years in prison on each count of mail fraud and wire fraud.
U.S. Attorney Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI for their hard work in this matter. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Royal Anguilla Police Force for their assistance in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keene.
An indictment is only an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.