A woman operating a storefront psychic reading shop in downtown Hopkins has been charged with swindling two of her clients with psychological problems out of tens of thousands of dollars each by claiming that she could rid them of curses.

Cynthia J. Evans, 26, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts each of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft by swindle. Evans was charged by summons and is due back in court on Dec. 7.

Evans declined Wednesday to answer questions about the charges but did say that Psychic Readings, located on the second floor of a building in the 800 block of Mainstreet, is closed indefinitely.

However, according to the charges, she defended her interactions with the two clients.

"I recommend things that help," the criminal complaint quoted her as telling police. "I give them things that will help. I give them guidance. ... Everybody needs a spiritual life coach. ... There should be more people out there like me."

Evans added that she compares herself to a doctor who prescribes medications but cannot force patients to take them.

In a statement issued Tuesday, police Sgt. Mike Glassberg said, "This investigation took several months to complete. ... Our goal was to stop Evans from victimizing any more citizens of their money, using false hope and promises."

According to the complaint:

Evans cheated a 30-year-old Hopkins man with mental health and developmental disorders out of nearly $90,000. She started by providing him with somewhat inexpensive tarot card readings before telling him he had been "cursed at conception" and was under a "multigenerational curse."

She persuaded him to pay her for 30 candles at $100 each, one for each year of his life. However, there was no evidence that she acquired the candles, explaining to him that she used them in a secret ceremony that was too dangerous for him to attend.

She later coaxed him into buying a Rolex watch for $14,000. Evans told him that he needed to give her the watch to "work with" as part of overcoming the curse. Through an attorney, she eventually gave her victim the watch.

Evans also used one of his credit cards to pay herself $10,000 and collected $5,000 from him for a crystal, which he never saw, that she claimed was to get his recently deceased father out of purgatory and into heaven.

All the while, Evans told the man that he would get back tenfold what he had given her, which totaled $87,886.61 in money or possessions.

The other victim, a 64-year-old woman from Minnetonka, had been seeing a psychiatrist since 2004 for mental health difficulties. She turned to Evans in hopes of attracting a particular person romantically and ended up paying her about $40,000.

The woman paid $10,000 so Evans could buy a crystal that the client never saw. Evans also used several tactics with the woman as she did with her other victimized client and explained to her that she was protecting her from evil money.

Evans was aware of the woman's mental difficulties and told her, "You have me, you don't need a therapist," the complaint read. She also had the woman turn over $5,428 from a life insurance policy while telling her that death has been stalking her throughout her life.