TORONTO - Toronto police have charged a man with pretending to practise witchcraft after they say a woman paid thousands of dollars for help with various ailments.

It is alleged that a man advertised his services as a "healer" in radio and print ads and that a 56-year-old woman contacted him for help with her ongoing physical problems.

Police say the man used spells and rituals to convince the woman that she and her family were cursed and that he could remove the curse for a sum of money.

They say the woman paid about $14,000 for what they called "various services."

Gustavo Valencia Gomez, 40, of Mississauga, Ont., is charged with fraud over $5,000, false pretences over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime, as well as pretending to practise witchcraft.

Police say Gomez publishes a Spanish language newspaper called "el Negocia Redondo” which advertises his services in Toronto, London, Ont., and Montreal, and they believe there may be more victims in Ontario and Quebec.

Gomez is scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Dec. 28.

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