A bogus spiritual healer who conned families by claiming he could cure sick relatives using a “special genie” has been jailed for six years.
Gul Faraz (54) donned robes and told victims his spiritual friend would ward off evil spirits. He tricked his way into a string of homes in Leicester and London by claiming he was a charity worker collecting money to send to India’s Kashmir region.
Once inside, he boasted of his healing powers – but insisted he needed his victims’ jewellery for the prayers to work. He then stole the jewellery including wedding and engagement rings, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
Faraz’s method was to write prayers on a piece of paper, then blow them at his victims, said prosecutor Rekha Kodikara. He then asked the families to put their precious gems into a pan of water mixed with milk, before dipping a pen into the liquid, which turned red. Faraz claimed the colour change was the result of his special powers – but he had, in fact, slipped in red powder kept in small packets in his pocket. “He then wrapped up all the jewellery in tissue paper and placed it in a money bag before putting it in a saucepan,” said Ms Kodikara.
“He wrapped a cloth around the pan and said it had to be left in a cupboard for a week before it could be opened and the prayers had their full effect.”
The families, who were mainly Muslim, believed Faraz and even gave him extra cash out of gratitude for his services. But when the victims checked the saucepan, they found their jewellery was missing.
Faraz collected £3,000 worth of gems from a family after visiting their home in Bow, east London, on March 21 last year. Ten days later, he pocketed £2,500 from a victim in Stepney, east London. Faraz also stole £1,200 from a pensioner in Bow on April 4.
But days later, a couple he had targeted in Purley Road, Belgrave, Leicester, noticed him slipping the jewellery into his pocket and he was later arrested.
Sentencing the judge described his crimes as despicable.