A Spanish man stands accused of taking advantage of an overly-religious old woman by posing as her Lord and Savior and asking her to deposit money at His ‘Church of Heaven’.
Could you say ‘no’ to God? What if He called you directly to ask for a favor? Esperanza, an elderly woman from León, in northwestern Spain, could not refuse God when He called her on her telephone and told her to put her savings in His ‘Church of Heaven’, because it offered better interest than earthly ones.
The woman never once suspected that she was being scammed, as she was convinced that she was a ‘chosen of the Virgin’ long before receiving the call, so getting a direct call from the Almighty didn’t really seem that strange.
Over six years, Esperanza followed God’s instructions and deposited around 300,000 euros in a small drawer at a local convenience store, convinced the money would end up at a heavenly church…
The victim in this bizarre case suffers from religious mystical delusions. In 2013, she somehow became convinced that she was a saint chosen by the Virgin herself.
It is believed that the scammer, the owner of a local shop who knew about the woman’s beliefs, took advantage of her extreme religiousness to fill their own pockets.
“I have been a saint since 2013,” Esperanza told reporters. On a car trip I felt hands on my shoulders and when I got home they took me to the bathroom. There, on the mirror, it was written in letters of blood: ‘I am the Virgin, here I have shed all my blood. My daughter, you are a saint. Wipe it with this sponge.’
So when the elderly woman first received God’s phone call in 2013, she wasn’t that surprised. He told her to start depositing her money into a “checking account of God at the Bank of Heaven”. She was promised better interest than that offered by earthly banks, as well as the possibility to build herself a house in Heaven with the money saved. To Esperanza, that sounded like a good deal.
From 2013 to 2019, the elderly woman deposited all her savings in a small drawer at a local convenience store operated by a man who now stands accused of scamming her. She used up all her savings and took out two bank loans to please the Almighty.
No one, not even her children knew about her deal with God, as the scammer allegedly threatened to kill her family if she told anyone. God is supposed to have unlimited power, so Esperanza headed the warning. Her kids only found out about it when they learned that her saving account was empty.
The suspect in this case still insists that he is innocent, but prosecutors allegedly have evidence of him taking advantage of Esperanza by posing as God and faking his voice during phone calls with the woman. His trial has recently started and the prosecution has asked for 8 years in prison for the defendant.
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