Chilmark Police released a heavily redacted report on the department’s preliminary investigation that ultimately led to an alleged psychic being convicted in a scheme to bilk $3.5 million from a woman who feared demons. The victim’s name is protected in the police report.
Sally Ann Johnson of Florida, who is named in the report, is scheduled to be sentenced on federal tax-evasion charges in January, and has agreed to return the fees she levied to allegedly exorcise the woman of demons.
Written by Chilmark Sgt. Sean Slavin, the report indicates police initially interviewed the woman because she had called to report she’d been robbed by a housecleaner. The sergeant later found those allegations not credible. At an interview at the woman’s home, Sgt. Slavin wrote that she showed behavior consistent with Alzheimer’s disease, and that the victim’s house was in a state of transition for an impending move. The woman told Sgt. Slavin that the move was stalled because she was waiting for her “healer” to help “get rid of the demons.”
According to the report, Sgt. Slavin inquired if demons referred to drugs or alcohol, or evil spirits. The victim “indicated demons more along the lines of evil spirits,” Sgt. Slavin wrote in his report. When he asked how much money the victim had spent to purge the demons, the woman told him, “Probably over $20,000.”
Sgt. Slavin contacted the victim’s brother, who verified that she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and that he believed she’d been bilked for closer to $150,000. Sgt. Slavin later received a call from the victim’s brother, who said the victim had been “kidnapped” by Sally Ann Johnson, who was using the alias Angela Johnson. Sgt. Slavin learned the victim might have been taken by Ms. Johnson to New York to see an Alzheimer’s specialist. The sergeant later discovered a black BMW with Florida plates in the victim’s driveway, and found the victim and Ms. Johnson in the house. Ms. Johnson told the sergeant that the two had spent the evening at the Harbor View Hotel because they drank wine and because the woman did not want to be in her house alone, the report states. The woman told Sgt. Slavin that she was a Reiki practitioner, a clairvoyant, and a psychic, according to the report. The victim appeared frustrated with her brother’s meddling, the sergeant noted.
When the victim’s brother came to the Island to investigate the state of his sister’s financial affairs, some $3.5 million was found to have been wired from the her bank account to Ms. Johnson.
At that point, Sgt. Slavin referred the matter to the FBI.
The woman’s identity remains a mystery; in federal documents she is referred to as Jane Doe.
Chief Jonathan Klaren noted in a memo to the Chilmark selectmen that Sgt. Slavin’s investigative work was integral to the success of the case against Ms. Johnson.