Judge to Sentence Woman Who Spent Investor Money on Prayers

GREENBELT, MD (AP) — A Maryland investment adviser awaits sentencing for defrauding investors out of millions of dollars, some of which she spent on astrological gems, cosmetic medical procedures and religious rituals in India. The federal judge set to sentence Dawn Bennett on Wednesday presided over a two-week trial last year that resulted in Bennett’s conviction on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud. Jurors heard testimony that Bennett used investors’ money to pay more than $800,000 for prayers by Hindu priests in India to ward off federal investigators while her business collapsed. An FBI agent said investigators found evidence in Bennett’s home that she tried to silence U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators by casting “hoodoo” spells. A defense attorney argued Bennett was free to mix her personal and business expenses.

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