SAN FRANCISCO—Officials from the San Francisco Police Department have arrested two suspect in connection to a blessing scam that has targeted older members of the Chinese community.

According to a press release from the SFPD, on December 24, 2018, Mudi Wu, 51, and Fuxi Dai, 45, both from China were arrested at Los Angeles International Airport where they were attempting to flee back to China. The suspects were transported back to San Francisco where they were interviewed and booked on grand theft, petty theft, extortion and elder abuse charges.

Such  blessing scams involve strangers claiming to provide relief from a curse or an illness, or providing “purification” ceremonies in which cash and valuable items must be offered as part of the process.

From November 29, 2018 and December 14, 2018, four blessing scams were reported to police with a loss totaling over $180,000 in cash and jewelry.  The SFPD and San Francisco District Attorney’s Office investigators, with the assistance of multiple outside law enforcement agencies, identified and arrested both suspects.

While arrests have been made in the case, the SFPD is still investigating the case. Due to pending identification matters, booking photos are not available at this time. Investigators are asking anyone with details on the case to contact the SFPD anonymously at 415-575-4444 or text-a-tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the start of the message.

The San Francisco Police Department is alerting members of the Chinese community to be suspicious of any such offers from strangers. Potential victims are advised to contact authorities immediately if confronted with such a situation.  Family members and caregivers to elder Chinese community members should discuss this scam with them and instruct the elders to call them if anyone approaches them under similar circumstances.

San Francisco Safety Awareness For Everyone (SFSAFE) – a program of San Francisco Police Department’s Community Engagement Division – provides the City’s diverse communities with safety tips and educational brochures in multiple languages.