UPDATE (19-Feb 2015): Leicester faith healer conman convicted. Ashrafi was sentenced to 9 years in prison for fraud.
Originally published 26-Jan 2015
Alleged fraudster used conjuring tricks to get people to give him money.
A “fraudster” masqueraded as a ‘faith healer’ to dupe vulnerable victims out of £650,000 in a series of scams, a court heard.
Mohammed Ashrafi (50) allegedly pretended to be a devotee of the Indian spiritual master Sai Baba, with special powers to perform miracles, Leicester Crown Court was told.
He convinced 18 ‘believers’ into thinking they were going to win the National Lottery – and persuaded them to part with life savings, it is claimed.
Sai Baba was a heralded guru who was also accused of doing magician’s tricks to gain people’s admiration. His tricks were exposed. To his followers, he was a “living god” who could heal the sick and even resurrect the dead.
Someone else was taking notes, perhaps. Ashrafi is accused of presenting himself as another miracle worker.
Ashrafi’s trial for fraud and blackmail continues in the UK.