Transsexual Says Gypsy Psychic Got Him to Spend $150,000

PHOTO Druella, an Oregon bookkeeper with a dark past, says he was scammed by a psychic, who asked him to buy a Hummer, four Rolexes and a tabernacle.

As a child, Drakar Druella was raised a Catholic and also had been the victim of ritual abuse, so when he turned to a Portland, Ore., psychic last October looking for spiritual advice, he said, her strange requests made some sense.

First, she wanted $22,000 to buy a tabernacle from the Vatican that would rid the 42-year-old of "negative energy," he said. Then, over the course of seven weeks, he said, she asked him to buy a $46,000 Hummer and four Rolex watches totaling $38,000 -- all to help create a spiritual center.

VIDEO: Drakar Druella says his mental state caused him to give $150,000 to a psychic.
Man Accuses Gypsy of Fortuneteller Scam

But after his credit card debt soared to $150,000 and he said he saw her try to use the same religious ploy on two other women, he went to police. Druella has since filed for bankruptcy and said his credit has been ruined.

Now, police are investigating possible fraud conspiracy charges against the psychic, 39-year-old Cathy Stevens, a Gypsy whose lawyer says she is being persecuted for her religion.

VIDEO: People look to soothsayers to provide confidence in economic crisis.
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Stevens' lawyer said Druella is a person with "mental health issues" who is trying to "smear" her for things he did because he wanted to go into business with her.

As the investigation continues, who is the victim in this bizarre story: Druella, a transsexual bookkeeper with a troubled past, or Stevens, a fortune teller who believed her client was a willing business partner?

In January, police raided both Stevens' home and her psychic shop in the hip, southeast section of Portland and charged her with aggravated theft. After fingerprinting her and holding her for a few hours, she was released and charges were dropped pending further investigation.

"We still have other victims to come forward," said Portland Police Department Sgt. Sue Kruger, who refused to reveal more. "We want to look at the whole case together with all the charges rather than add things down the road."

The psychic has since closed her shop and, Kruger said, "As far as where Cathy Stevens is, I couldn't tell you that."

Druella, a transsexual who was born a woman, said he was only looking for "a few tidbits to direct me and comfort me and give me a sense of safety and security" when he went in to the Hawthorne Psychic Shop for a palm-reading last October.

"For lack of a better word, I had a midlife crisis," Druella said. "As a result of some soul-searching, I thought I would try to live as woman again after 20 years living as a man -- to go back. I was struggling at the time."

Druella said he had a "rough time" stopping testosterone, which he compared to a woman's hormonal response after a hysterectomy, and "coming out" again as a woman to his co-workers.

"I was looking for someone to give me a little sign or something," said Druella, who had previously seen other psychics and spiritual teachers. "I went into a tailspin. I didn't sleep well for eight months and I was fighting the flu.

"I had a desire for a loving figure and spiritual person in my life and [Stevens] really did play on that," Druella said. "I was really vulnerable."

Stevens, whom he described as dressed in a jean skirt and boots with her dark hair pulled back in a pony tail, "seemed like an average nice person."

"She didn't have any weird stuff, just metaphysical books on her shelf and pretty candles and incense, he said.

Man Says Psychic Preyed on His Catholicism

But in the course of their first conversation, which cost $265, Druella said Stevens "pressed upon a sensitive thread' -- his Catholic upbringing.

"She said that I had some kind of bad energy around me and was profoundly concerned for my well-being," said Druella, who told her about the "heinous abuse" he said he had suffered as a child.

Druella said a relative had performed satanic rituals on him before the age of 5. Experts define ritual abuse as any psychological, physical or sexual assault on an unwilling victim committed by cultists or in the name of religion.

"She hit the jackpot when she knew my history," he said. "I just went for it lock, stock and barrel."

Druella said Stevens told him that she had "special connections" to the Vatican.

"She called it an exorcism and said she needed a tabernacle," he said. "After she used it, she would return it and I would be fully refunded. She was lying and I believed it."

Druella, who has an associate's degree from Portland Community College and has worked for 10 years with the same company, said he had always "lived simply" and had "impeccable" credit.

But at her urging, he said, he bought an H-3T Hummer for $45,940 so they could go to a remote area and do spiritual work.

Druella said he also agreed to buy four Rolex watches, totaling $37,840 so Stevens could use the "special components" to save his life.

He also handed over journals from his previous advisor, giving the psychic even more material to take advantage of his "belief system," Druella said.

But Stevens, who could not be reached by ABCNews.com, contends Druella was an eager investor in her spiritual operation and even brought in his own clients, according to her lawyer.

After her arrest on Jan. 25, she hired John W. Neidig, a lawyer who has defended numerous cases of religious freedom to "defend her against potential charges."

Just last year, Neidig defended Raylene Worthington, the Oregon City mother who was charged in the death of her 15-month-old daughter Ava, who had a treatable medical condition.

She and her husband Carl, who belonged to the Followers of Christ Church, which preaches that members should turn to prayer, not doctors, in times of illness, were acquitted of manslaughter in the case, though Carl Worthington was convicted of misdemeanor criminal mistreatment.

Stevens is a member of the Spiritual Psychic Science Church of Truth, based in Azuza, Calif., and moved to Portland one year ago, Neidig said.

"This is an established church and established religion and our Oregon constitution is pretty darn clear and very protective of people's right to worship according to their dictates," he said.

Neidig said the tabernacle, like the rest of the expensive purchases, was Druella's idea.

"He actually wanted to go into business with my client," Neidig said. "He wanted it to be a class act. He wanted all these video players with flat screen TVs for counseling people at their spiritual center. He was seeing his own clients and doing fortune telling."

Neidig said Druella had frequent emotional flare-ups when his female alter ego, "Rachel," emerged.

"When he went off hormones and got real wiggy, and Rachel would surface," he said.

Druella bought the Rolex watches for his mother and sister and asked Stevens to keep them safe at her shop, according to Neidig.

As for the Hummer, it was for Druella's personal use, though Stevens had borrowed it once, he said. "It's orange because it was Rachel's favorite color," Neidig said.

Psychic Claims Police Defamed Gypsies

The pair had plans to move in together at Steven's large house, which she rented from Portland's former police chief, Ron Sill, the lawyer said. Druella bought bedroom furniture and a washer and dryer, but soon, according to Neidig, Stevens became uncomfortable with their relationship and broke it off, returning the appliances.

But Neidig said the most egregious offense occurred when Druella filed charges with police and they defamed Stevens in the affidavit, calling the case: "Gypsies and Fortune Telling Fraud."

"That was pretty doggone racist," he said. "Gypsy is a pejorative term of slang that is placed on these people. My client is pretty offended by this."

Neidig said police characterized Gypsies as "swindlers and fraudulent."

He also alleged that police raided Stevens' house under false pretenses, "concocting" a story with her landlord that the insurance company needed to inspect the property so that they could gain access.

With a search warrant, police later confiscated all her financial records and journals, he said. This week a Multnomah County judge refused to return them to Stevens for two months until the investigation is complete.

"She needs to file her taxes," Neidig said."She is very upset. This whole thing has cost her a lot of money."

Stevens has not ruled out filing a lawsuit against the police for violating landlord-tenant laws, the lawyer said.

As for Druella, "He's obviously got mental health issues and maybe poor judgment," Neidig said. "Now he's trying to smear Cathy Stevens for his own decisions."

But Druella contends he was an easy target for Stevens.

"She was playing on my history," he said. "She knew completely what to do. I was scared for my life."

Druella said he came to his senses when Stevens asked him to help persuade two other clients "how wonderful she was" and "how they needed her."

"The first woman had two children and was gay and had been through a break-up," he said. "[Stevens] asked this woman to get her a tabernacle, and this woman was not ritually abused and exposed to Satanism."

Stevens allegedly tried the same tack with a second, professional woman.

Druella said he approached each of the women and told them to "get the hell out of here."

"The business woman who dealt with finance was utterly humiliated, too embarrassed to report it to the police," he said. "The gay woman was suicidal -- she had given her the last $200 she had for her children's Christmas presents."

Druella said he, too, was ashamed that he fell for Stevens, but was comforted when a sympathetic police detective told him: "This isn't about intelligence. It's about being vulnerable, so stop beating on yourself."

Druella said his life crisis is now resolved, but no thanks to Stevens.

"I knew when I stepped forward it was going to be ugly," he said. "I knew what people would say about me. They can be very cruel. But I had to say something. It's been profoundly difficult, but it was my choice and the right thing to do."

Druella said he won't ever seek psychic advice again.

"One of the big lessons I learned is we all carry our own wisdom inside ourselves," he said. "You don't have to go outside to find it. You just have got to figure things out for yourself sometimes."

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