Nahid Moshrefi, also known as Dr. Venus K. Moshrefi, describes herself as a specialist in natural healing therapies. But she's characterized by prosecutors with the First Judicial District DA's office as a fraud who faked cancer in order to bilk an elderly man out of $69,000, and a jury has now agreed.
Last year, we nominated Moshrefi as a Schmuck of the Week and also highlighted the charges against her in an April roundup headlined "Meet Seven Colorado Women Accused of Faking Cancer." But even among that group, her alleged exploits stood out.
Moshrefi's business was Holistic Healing Health, which is described on its still-online-but-inactive Twitter page as "a five-star, science-based, results-driven natural medicine and nutrition clinic located in Colorado Springs, CO" — and the superlatives continue on its website, which also remains accessible at this writing. Its introduction reads in part:
At Holistic Healing Health, Dr. Moshrefi and her highly trained staff combine their education and experience in conventional medicine with holistic natural alternative therapies and clinical nutrition to support and assist you in bringing your body back to balance and not just a state of being symptom-free. Our mission is to improve the health of our community and our clients by providing the best in alternative natural health and clinical nutrition. At Holistic Healing Health, we strive to support you in getting healthy and staying healthy.
The site goes on to boast of "unparalleled success" supporting clients with the following list of conditions/issues: "Autoimmunity, Digestive Issues, Thyroid Health, Blood Sugar Imbalance, Mood Balancing, Hormonal Balancing, Natural Allergy Elimination, Adrenal Fatigue, Anxiety & Depression."
Nowhere online does Moshrefi share her diagnosis for how to fill an empty bank account — and anyone who duplicates the approach shared in an arrest affidavit cited by the DA's office will likely come to the conclusion that the cure is worse than the disease.
Prosecutors claimed Moshrefi began dating William Maruca, who's now eighty, in 2013 after connecting on the Live Links dating service.
Several months into their relationship, Moshrefi told Maruca she had cancer, the affidavit maintains, and he apparently opened up his wallet to help her address this malady. In July 2015, an employee at FirstBank, where Maruca had an account, flagged checks and transfers to Moshrefi totaling $34,781.
When contacted by authorities, Maruca told them he'd been paying for Moshrefi's doctor visits and treatments, without which she claimed she'd be dead in five to six months.
Maruca reportedly said he knew Moshrefi had cancer because of her visible reactions to pain, adding that their relationship was "secret because it was against her religion to be with a white man when she is unmarried."
Oh, yeah: The affidavit says Moshrefi has been married to someone else for thirteen years.
Also contacting the cops was Maruca's cousin. The affidavit quotes him as saying that Moshrefi convinced Maruca to stop taking his prescription medication in favor of supplements like one she sold him for $250; investigators found the same product was available online for $99.
That's only the tip of the allegation pile.
Also included are assertions that Maruca gave Moshrefi a car and all his cash savings, as well as paying for her to travel to California and Australia to visit relatives one more time before her supposedly impending death. Moshrefi was also accused of making herself the sole beneficiary of Maruca's will.
The capper: When she was interrogated, the affidavit allows, Moshrefi admitted she didn't have cancer.
That was more than enough for jurors, as illustrated by their recently announced verdict. After a four-day trial, they convicted Moshrefi for theft from an at-risk elder and criminal exploitation of an at-risk elder, both felonies, following just four hours of deliberation. At a September 8 hearing, she could be sentenced to as much as 24 years in prison. That kind of news is capable of making her sick — for real this time.
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