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Upper Saddle River police capture fugitive in $120,000 fortune-telling scam

Photo Credit: Courtesy UPPER SADDLE RIVER PD
Photo Credit: Courtesy UPPER SADDLE RIVER PD

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Upper Saddle River police today captured a “psychic/spiritualist” fugitive wanted in a fortune-telling scam that cost a victim $120,000.

Cathy Johnson was spotted and arrested on Main Street in Hackensack this afternoon by Detective Sgt. Michael Antista and was being processed at police headquarters.

Authorities had been searching for Johnson for more than a week after arresting a trio of alleged accomplices — including twin brothers.

Demetro

They said Johnson masterminded a scheme in which she and the others conned an Upper Saddle River woman out of $120,000 by promising to help a sick child get better and rid the family of demons.

Beginning in 2011, the victim visited Cathy Johnson at a Route 17 south astrology center in Wood-Ridge, Upper Saddle River Police Chief Patrick Rotella told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Johnson, who also operated an astrology center on Route 17 south in Rochelle Park, befriended the victim and offered to help rid her and her family of “demons,” the chief said.

She also “promised she could help a sick child related to the victim,” he said.

To do so, Rotella said, Johnson told the victim she needed all of her personal identification documents — driver’s license, birth certificate, etc. — along with all of the victim’s relatives’ names and dates of birth.

She also convinced the woman not to tell anyone about their relationship.

As the scam progressed, Rotella said, Johnson enlisted the aid of her step-father, Nicholas Demetro, 59, of Paramus, and two 44-year-old twins, Johnny Horvath of Belleville and Jimmy Horvath of Avenel.

The Horvath brothers and Demetro were arrested after attempting to cash a $50,000 check obtained from the victim, the chief said.

Upper Saddle River police last Friday arrested Demetro and the Horvaths on charges of theft by deception. All three posted $50,000 bail each and were released from the Bergen County Jail on Tuesday, records show.

Johnson remained at large — until today.

Her bail was set at $125,000.

Anyone who believes they may also be a victim of a similar type fraud involving Johnson’s astrology centers is asked to call the Upper Saddle River Police Department Detective Bureau: (201) 327-2700 .

MUGSHOTS/JOHNSON PHOTO: Courtesy UPPER SADDLE RIVER PD

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