Third suspect arrested in ‘blessing scam’ targeting elderly Chinese women

Third suspect arrested in ‘blessing scam’ targeting elderly Chinese women

A third suspect involved in a “blessing” scam that targeted elderly Chinese women in San Francisco and San Mateo counties was arrested last week in Southern California, according to San Francisco police.

Juan Li, 62, of Rosemead, was apprehended by officers from San Francisco and Los Angeles on March 28 and booked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on suspicion of grand theft, petty theft, extortion and elder abuse.

Li, who is being held on an initial $250,000 bond, is expected to be transferred to San Francisco in the near future to face prosecution, according to San Francisco police.

She is suspected of working with three other women to run a scam targeting ethnically Chinese women who speak little or no English.

“The suspects claim to provide relief from a curse, an illness or provide ‘purification’ ceremonies in which cash and valuable items must be offered as part of the process,” police officials said in a news release. “These scams have been reported in communities around the Bay Area, with losses estimated at over $200,000, most of which was taken in crimes occurring in San Francisco.”

Two of the suspects, Mudi Wu and Fuxi Dia, both of China and both listed as 51 years old in jail records, were arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Christmas Eve as they were allegedly attempting to flee to Hong Kong, according to police.

Both women remain in San Francisco County Jail on bonds of $1.25 million and face multiple charges, including grand theft, extortion and elder abuse.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges in January.

Investigators believe a fourth suspect, whose name has not been released, fled the country last December, police said.

Blessing scams are an ongoing issue for San Francisco’s Chinese community and police ask anyone who suspects they might have been victimized by such a crime to call the department’s hotline at (415) 533-9212.

Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read