YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A “psychic/spiritualist” working with a pair of twin brothers and a third accomplice conned an Upper Saddle River woman out of $120,000 through a fortune-telling scam in which they promised to help a sick child get better and rid the family of demons, borough police said today.
Three of those charged have been arrested, while the “psychic/spiritualist” who police said masterminded the alleged scheme remained a fugitive this morning.
Beginning in 2011, the victim visited Cathy Johnson at a Route 17 south astrology center in Wood-Ridge, Upper Saddle River Police Chief Patrick Rotella told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning.
Johnson, who also operated an astrology center on Route 17 south in Rochelle Park, befriended the victim and offered to help rid her and her family of “demons,” the chief said.
She also “promised she could help a sick child related to the victim,” he said.
To do so, Rotella said, Johnson told the victim she needed all of her personal identification documents — driver’s license, birth certificate, etc. — along with all of the victim’s relatives’ names and dates of birth.
She also convinced the woman not to tell anyone about their relationship.
As the scam progressed, Rotella said, Johnson enlisted the aid of her step-father, Nicholas Demetro, 59, of Paramus, and two 44-year-old twins, Johnny Horvath of Belleville and Jimmy Horvath of Avenel.
The Horvath brothers and Demetro were arrested after attempting to cash a $50,000 check obtained from the victim, the chief said.
All told, the scam cost the woman more than $120,000, he said.
Upper Saddle River police last Friday arrested Demetro and the Horvaths on charges of theft by deception. All three posted $50,000 bail each and were released from the Bergen County Jail on Tuesday, records show.
Johnson remained at large, charged with various offenses – including being a fugitive from justice. Her bail is $125,000.00.
Anyone who believes they may also be a victim of a similar type fraud involving Johnson’s astrology centers, or knows where to find her, is urged to the Upper Saddle River Police Department Detective Bureau: (201) 327-2700.
MUGSHOTS/JOHNSON PHOTO: Courtesy UPPER SADDLE RIVER PD