Four people have been arrested and charged in connection to a scam which targeted Asian women in Bensonhurst, Borough Park, and lower Manhattan recently, in which the con artists persuaded their victims that their valuables are cursed.
Three women, Yuqun Liang, 57, Yan Chen, 46, and Xuekun Su, 44 and a male suspect, Yacheng Chen, 50, have been arrested and charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud, according to police.
As part of the scheme, the con artists take advantage of Chinese superstitions by offering to bless their victims’ “cursed” jewelry and cash, telling them to put their valuables in a bag. However, instead of returning their victims’ belongings, the tricksters replace them with water bottles, police say.
In the most recent incident, a 54-year-old woman was approached on 48th Street in Borough Park at around 3pm, on Wednesday, June 22, say cops. Jewelry, totaling $3,000 in value and $19,000 was taken.
In Bensonhurst, a 61-year-old woman was approached at approximately 3pm on April 27, in front of 73 Bay 22nd Street. The crooks made off with $130,000, according to the NYPD.
Two more incidents that occurred in lower Manhattan and one in Queens, during which $20,000 to $280,000 was taken respectively. Police shared surveillance photos of five women that are wanted for questioning.
Bensonhurst has been plagued by “cursed jewelry” scams of this nature since 2013. The thieves often speak to their Chinese immigrant victims in Cantonese to earn their trust. Police warns residents to be vigilant and not to trust anyone who offers to rid their valuables of evil spirits.