The Story of Diana Rosado: Santeria Fraud and Extortion in Orlando, FL

SAY NOThe story you are about to read is an example of why people need to research carefully before becoming involved in a Santeria house or ilé.

It has been about two months since Diana Rosado contacted me on email wanting advice. I am overly cautious to learn slowly the facts before sharing advice with a person or even recommending their case to a fellow orisha practitioner near the individual seeking assistance.

First, I want to make sure there is a real spiritual need. Second, it is important to match properly the level of skill of the olosha to be recommended to the needs of the person seeking help. If possible, I do try to find people whose temperaments are suitable to provide assistance to someone who has faced abuse. Dealing with someone who is hurt, whose faith has been shattered and trust violated, requires kindness, knowledge and a great deal of patience and empathy.

Maybe some would consider this too much caution, but when someone has been victimized, the least they need is to place their shattered faith and their mounting problems they face, in the hands of someone who can’t lead them to a proper solution.

In a nutshell, Diana made a few errors in judgment which lead her to trust an alleged Palera and Santera. I have no way to validate the initiation of the person who conned Diana. However, I can say that from Diana’s emails, the woman describes herself as gay and Palera. There lays the first warning bell for me, as no legitimate Palo house would initiate a gay woman or man. If you want to read more about that subject go to the area which highlights Palo articles, as this in itself is a complex and controversial subject.

The second warning sign I want you to pay attention as you read Diana’s story is about the ‘initiations’ and the constant feeding scheme the alleged Santera devised to conn money out of Diana. The third item of interest is the modality this person wanted to establish of having Diana pay ‘rent’ or ‘upkeep’
I do have photos of the person who allegedly extorted money out of Diana as well as documents (bills) the woman sent charging for payments to ‘feed’ her orisha. However, I have agreed with Diana to simply present her side of the story as a warning for others and not to make an accusation through the blog using names and evidence. If Diana wishes to place a claim, she can certainly do so through a Small Claims Court, she is in her right to do so.

This in itself should serve as a warning to those who may be out there abusing others and defrauding them of their hard earn cash, as they are legally responsible and can face the law for their actions.
Her story is still unfolding and hopefully it will have a good end as she now is being properly advised by an obá oriaté of solid reputation and experience.

Having made these observations, I leave you to her story:

“I write this story with the hope that my experience will prevent another person from making the same mistakes.

Four years ago I was having problems with my daughter. There was a lot of discord between my daughter and my husband. We had decided to let our daughter live rent free in our house in Orlando, Florida. She was struggling working part time and going to school part time and unable to keep up with rent and utilities on her apartment. In return, we wanted her to finish school and only pay her utilities and the property taxes on the house.

We added her to the deed so she could get homestead on the house’s property taxes. These taxes are due once a year and the homestead gave her a break on the amount of taxes charged on the house.
It all started out well. However, she soon quit working and was not maintaining the property as we had done. My daughter wasn’t taking care of the pool properly or keeping the grass mowed. The inside the house was no better than the outside. It was like she didn’t care about anything. This was the source of all disagreements between us and I became desperate about this situation.

I found myself seeking guidance from someone with a spiritual background. I found someone who claimed she was an active participant in the Palo and Santeria religion. She convinced me that she would be able to help me with my problems and I agreed to let her help me.

Soon I found myself receiving Warriors and Yemayá. My daughter also ended up with the same (Warriors and Yemayá) and also ‘received’ a Gitana.

Keep in mind that no ceremony was performed prior to us receiving the Warriors and Yemayá and my daughter’s Gitana. This should have been my first clue that something was not correct.

My first major mistake for not researching the person (who also happens to be gay and supposedly practices Palo) and what to expect before receiving the Warriors and Yemayá. The funny thing is a part of me felt uncomfortable but I thought I had found someone to help me.

My second error was not listening to my instincts. At first she was very understanding and comforting, but things changed. I could not keep my Warriors and Yemayá at home because my husband does not support my religious practices. He had a bad experience with a spiritualist he thinks that anything spiritual outside of the church is ‘evil voodoo stuff.’ I was unable to keep the Warriors and Yemayá in my home and she offered to keep them at her apartment for me. Thus, this woman was ‘tending’ to my Warriors and Yemayá and feeding them every three months with animal blood. This started a series of hefty payments done to keep up the Warriors. I had to pay both for my daughter’s as well as mine every 3 months. Whenever I could not meet the payments a fine or multa for ‘disrespect’ was added as well. The average payment each three months was of $2,600, plus a fine for alleged disrespect of $421.

The abuse did not limit itself to these feeding and fines. Part of the scam was that every month something wrong happened and she needed to do some additional spiritual work or another on my behalf.
Because my daughter was so reluctant to maintain the property I found myself hiring this woman on a monthly basis to keep the pool and lawn maintained. So she was getting paid to do house maintenance and for upkeep of orishas and for additional workings.

However, communications diminished and ‘billings’ were made through my daughter which added to our friction. For the past 2 years the Santera/Palera had one excuse or another to avoid seeing me personally yet she saw my daughter every day. Then instead of asking for things she became demanding. Gradually I noticed my daughter pulling away from me. I finally started to question things and started researching on line for information.

It was then when I came across the blog The Mystic Cup that had a very interesting article that really caught my attention. I emailed them and asked several questions and the reply opened my eyes even more. From that day forward I started questioning my so called Madrina and she started to get angry and now took on a threating tone of do as I say and pay me or suffer the consequences of my actions.

Now I started to get angry and really seeing her in a different light. I refused to continue to pay her for anything.

In retaliation she sent my daughter to my home warning me I better pay her. When I refused my daughter attacked me physically and accused me of things I had not done. Her final words were she had ‘permission’ from her Godmother to attack me physically and she chooses her Godmother over me because I was a ‘liar who did not pay my bills.’

That day I realized I had allowed myself to get involved with a person without scruples. In my desperation I allowed myself to be conned and used as a personal cash cow. I did not bother to check out the person’s background and accepted all I was told as the gospel truth.

My third biggest mistake I had allowed my emotions to make decisions instead of thinking it through.
Since that day my daughter met with her father and gave him evidence of the work my Madrina had done for me. Then she betrayed me again by telling her father what I was paying her ‘so called friend’ for up-keep of the pool and house because I stopped paying for these services. Her father told her she didn’t need to pay anyone because he would cut the grass and keep the pool maintained for free. All she had to do was ask him to help her.

She never asked him and today must still be paying her Madrina for this work.

My daughter’s ill behavior didn’t stop there. One day my husband came and found a grey bin left on top of the wall surrounding our house in Clermont, Florida. He brought me outside to question me why this bin had my name on it with the words religion stuff and Ogún and Eleguá on it. I said do not bring that inside the house and he insisted on trying to open it but stopped when the smell hit him and he agreed that something very wrong was in the bin.

I had to scramble to find a place to dump the stuff. My daughter has since stopped going to school and is working at delivering pizza at night in bad neighborhoods. This was the job her Madrina found her. I am sure my daughter is still paying her an extremely high amount of money every 3 months for the feedings of her Warriors and other items. I know this because she took out a loan on her life insurance policy that I was paying. I have since cancelled my payments.

Now I found out that this person and her partner are living in my house rent free. I found this out because my daughter called her father crying that her light would be cut off and to talk to me about it. When he went over there he met the partner. When I checked out her account she was over $600.00 behind in light payments. I did not want to pay but he was insistent that we help her. I only paid her late charges and left her current balance.

My daughter needs to learn to be more responsible and smarter in her decisions. She needs to learn that there are consequences for her bad decisions and choices. I emailed her about this but she never answered me back. I am sure she is not reading my emails or she would have replied with some nasty comments.
Today, because of my stupid mistakes, I am currently working with an attorney to get my daughter’s name off the deed. Since she is under this woman’s influence and so totally against me I fear that she may attempt to give this woman my house.

In the end I was deceived and manipulated into an ugly situation which cost me financially and emotionally. All these things happened because I went out blindly seeking help. I bitterly regret my decisions and own up that I created the mess I am living in. I have since lost my relationship with my only child. This more than anything else is what is breaking my heart. Please learn from my mistakes what can easily happen to you.

To all parents take heed from my pain and suffering by avoiding my mistakes in seeking help for problems with your child. Please be very careful of whom you choose to become a Godparent for your child or for yourself. I am not suggesting that everyone is a fraud. Because there are some sincere and truly good people in the religion who can honestly help you. I am only saying that there are people out there who will take advantage of your ignorance and desperation and can manipulate you into making your situation worse.

I sincerely believe that God will put the right people in your life to help guide you along the way. After all that has happened to me I was blessed and very fortunate to be advised and recommended to a very honest, decent and caring gentleman who was willing to help me with this situation.

I was shocked at how little he charges for his help and guidance. After being so badly manipulated and conned my faith in the religion had been shattered. I didn’t know what to expect and was prepared to hear him quote an outrageous price for his work. I was shocked at how little he charges for his help and guidance. He actually told me the price he would pay for each item. I could see that he was not over inflating his price for the sole purpose of making a buck. This gentleman truly loves and respects his religion and believes in sincerely helping people. Today we are working together towards resolving my situation.”

I hope this helps to warn others in the Orlando area and elsewhere to keep their eyes open for potential abuse and scams.

Omimelli
Oní Yemayá Achagbá

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comments 16 people have left their opinions, what is yours?

16 Responses to “The Story of Diana Rosado: Santeria Fraud and Extortion in Orlando, FL”

  1. Betty says:

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you , our religion is beautiful I was scammed not once but twice and than shun by the Orlando area for fighting back ! But I believe in my santos and that thee watching and I will never let anyone or thing break me … I crowned 2 months ago and I’m on my own to figure it out but I will survive and so will you !!! Don’t let anyone break you sincerely iyawo Oshun

    • Omimelli says:

      Hello Betty,

      What happened to you? We need to keep our religion free of shysters by alerting one another and not letting unfairness go quiet.

      Omimelli

    • Diana says:

      Hi Betty,
      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I am sorry that you were shunned by your peers for being brave and strong enough to confront the truth. I respect you for fighting back. Stay strong!!
      Sincerely,
      Diana

    • Jodi says:

      Back in school, I’m doing so much lenagirn.

  2. Chango Funke says:

    Gives the religion a bad name. People outside the religion already think the religion is only about voodoo and bad. I love my religion. Would not be here if not for the egguns, Orishas and my wonderful Madrina.

    • Bozanfe Bon Oungan says:

      “People outside the religion already think the religion is only about voodoo and bad.”

      And on the Vodou side, even well meaning Lukumi adherents throw *our* religion under the bus speaking about us as if we’re evil.

      Easy with giving religions a bad name please, k? ;)

      • Omimelli says:

        Bonzafe

        Agreed, thus the use of ‘ ‘ marks a
        When referring to Voodoo as neither Diana nor I agree with describing a sister religion on that light. However, it depicts the level of ignorance that indeed exists.

        Omimelli

  3. tiffany says:

    I had forgotten about not cleaning the warriors when I was menstruating and I have been doing it all this time obviously I will stop but do I need to do anything else because I was doing it like this and I skip the monday that I am menstruating so do I clean them as soon as I am done menstruating or just wait till the following monday? And I also want to thank you for alk of your help May God and All the saints Bless You!!!

    • Omimelli says:

      Tiffany

      I understand that you may not want to discuss this subject with your godfather, however, it is important that you feel you can talk to him about everything. Particularly about how to care for your Warriors. When a woman is menstruating she has to abstain from touching her orisha. If it happens to fall on a Monday when traditionally people take care of their warriors, simply wait until the following Monday to do so. The orisha know our human limitations.

      Omimelli

  4. raul says:

    i just read this i live in orlando thank you ive been weary about going thru anything as im from miami and the only person i know that practices santeria is a friend of mine. and ive been searching in the orlando area b

    • KC says:

      Raul,I can totally relate to you.I also recently moved to the Orlando from NY area and have found that it is VERY hard to find a Ocha/Palo community here (perhaps due to my location) and the one that I did find I really didn’t feel comfortable with.

      • Omilade says:

        Hi KC,

        I too can relate to what your saying about Orlando. I lived in Orlando for sometime before relocating due to work. Its unfortunate that in Orlando there are many whom use this religion as a way of making money and the majority of what they suggest or require one to do is nothing less than nonsense and extremely costly.

        I know several that still live in Orlando and have sought out their Godparents in Miami, Houston and even Boston. It does make learning a bit difficult, however we live in a world of technology and it can be done.

        I have been a Santera for 44 years and my Godparents (Madrina y Padrino)live in Miami. I can still pay my respects and do all that is required of me. If I have to do a ceremony etc, I can make the trip to them or pay for them to visit with me.

        The ILE that you belong too does not have to be where you are, its the commitment to live by the path of your Saints and the house (ILE) in which you belong too.

        I wish you well in your journey, if you ever need advice or have a question, please do not hesitate to reach out. I will gladly answer what I can and If I can’t, I can turn to my Husband who is an Olowu.

        Bendiciones a Todo…
        Omilade

  5. Omilade says:

    Hi Diana and All…
    I have taken the time to read some past articles and catch up with some of the posts on this site. It holds some very valuable information.

    I was crowned with “Yemaya” when I was 3 years old, which was 44 years ago. Through the years I have heard many sad stories of people whom use this religion as a way of making money in the name of the Saints. There is not any way to convey the severity of this awful behavior; other then to simply say it’s Disgusting and the Saints see and hear everything.

    The person who did this to you will not go unpunished, if she is truly a Santera, which I doubt because of her life style,she will answer to her Saints in time.

    I am glad to hear you were able to connect with someone your comfortable with and can grow in the teachings of Santeria.

    No matter how long we have in this religion, there is always something to learn and we can never know it all. I have been a Santera for 44 years and I continue to learn on my journey.

    The responsibility of taking on a “Godchild” is a serious commitment; one for life. So many take on Godchildren as a “Money-Making” way to create their ILE. Its wrong on each and every level.

    Please know Diana, that there are good people in this religion; I advise you to always listen to your inner-self.

    May Orula and All of the Saints Bless you and your daughter.
    Mucho Bendiciones a Todo..
    Omilade

  6. Mircea says:

    What an awesome way to explain this-now I know evhityerng!

  7. Aria says:

    Please Help! I am very respectful of the Santeria Religion. I am still soul searching and trying to figure out what my purpose is. However, my ex boyfriend met his ‘Madrina’ almost a year ago and since then she has been extorting tens of thousands of dollars from him. She regularly tells him he is in life threatening danger and he has to pay for protection spells. She lies and says her saints told her I was cheating on him regularly. She also encourages him to cast evil spells on people that my ex has problems with. They are constantly using black magic to hurt people physically and financially. But it has not worked yet… He is brainwashed by her and she is draining him completely financially and emotionally as he has discontinued almost every relationship in his life besides with those who his Madrina says he can still have. I witnessed his Madrina pretend to be possessed by TWO SAINTS to do an exorcism of a ghost my ex claimed was sleeping with him in his sleep. She literally danced around his yard and banged on her chest and pretended to be possessed by the saints. she is not mentally ok. This woman lives in section 8 with 3 of her children and her grandchildren. They do not live a lavished lifestyle and my ex does. I want to have faith in the religion for myself but this seems very corrupt. She keeps telling him she is going to crown him in the religion and he will be so Powerful. What should I do? It is a lot deeper and more dangerous than I can even explain through one paragraph. Please point me in the right direction

    • Omimelli says:

      Aria,
      I am really sorry to see you in this situation. It is clear that your ex-boyfriend is in the clutches of a person who lives off the religion. I would even question her initiatory status, but that is neither here nor there.

      You are wise to proceed with lots of caution with regards to who you associate with in Santeria. I am curious as to where is this case happening as a word of warning to people in the area.

      Unfortunately, there is nothing you can really do for your ex-boyfriend. He needs to wake up out of this self-made nightmare all on his own. It is clear that power is something he may enjoy, otherwise, why get involved in doing workings to control others?

      If you want to further your religious development, I would suggest you establish a routine of spiritual hygiene and that you start right away to pray to your ancestors and to your elevated spirits to help you find someone reputable who can help you learn.

      Stay focused, keep your eyes open and be slow to trust others. Allow those cross paths with you to prove their worth not only with words but with deeds before you decide to commit to any ile or Santeria house.

      After all, there is really no hurry. The orishas will manifest in your life when the time is right, have no doubt.

      Keep your chin up and your eyes open.

      Omimelli

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