Skeptic News: Bogus healer jailed for jewellery thefts

From: Peterborough Today

A bogus healer from Peterborough who claimed he could cure people using a special genie has been jailed.

Alcoholic Gul Faraz (54) of Cambridge Avenue, Peterborough, was locked up for six and a half years and Snaresbrook Crown Court, London, after admitting tricking his way into a string of homes in London and Leicester by claiming he was a charity worker collecting cash to send to India’s Kashmir region.

He wore ‘holy’ robes and told victims his spiritual friend would ward off evil spirits. But once inside the homes he insisted he needed his victims’ jewellery for the prayers to work. Faraz pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and a fourth count of theft, and sentencing Judge Tudor Owen described his behaviour as ‘despicable.’ 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 the 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. 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 Suresh Rani and her family, including her unwell daughter, Neelam, after visiting their home in Rainhill Way, Bow, east London, last March 21. Just ten days later on March 31, he pocketed £2,500 courtesy of Ayshe Hassan, of Philpot Lane, Stepney, east London. Faraz’s ruse worked again on April 4 at the home of pensioner Parmin Pirandita, in Southern Grove, Bow, earning him £1,200.

But days Mina Patel and her husband, of Purley Road, Leicester, noticed him slipping the jewellery into his pocket and confronted him. He was arrested and linked to his London crimes by his fingerprints but during a police interview, he insisted the families were lying. However, he later admitted his crimes.

Judge Owen said: “Each of these are artifice burglaries because you deceived people and stole from them in their own homes, in the most disgraceful way.

“You preyed on vulnerable people by posing as a holy man, convincing them to believe you.

“The fact is, if people have faith, they can sometimes be easier to deceive by people like you, as you know all too well.

“I have no doubt you are sorry you have been caught, but I have no idea if you are remorseful.

“This was despicable behaviour to these people by you.

“The way this was done was much worse than breaking into someone’s home, even if they were occupying it.”

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