A tightly shut house is all that remains of the television fortune teller Lucía Martín’s sojourn in the small town of Magallón, near Zaragoza. Last week the house’s interior revealed some of the possessions of this woman of 27, born in Esplugues de Llobregat, near Barcelona. Computer-linked plasma TVs, earphones, brand-name bags and shoes, stacks of TV series on DVD, and a Vietnamese pig by the name of Valentino. There were also pastries and other bakery products, which she claimed to sell on the internet.
In the town they call her the “TV girl” since the altercation that led to the arrest of José Laparra, former president of the Deportivo Castellón soccer club, accused of breaking and entering, threats with a firearm and extortion, having tried to get back the 165,000 euros he paid to the seer for a love spell. The intended object of said spell was Sandra, a young secretary who works in a building in Valencia where Laparra had a company office.
The profile of this businessman, involved in real estate promotion and geriatric care, is almost as colorful as that of the fortune teller. Laparra is facing charges for embezzlement of the soccer team, whose executive board is accused of siphoning off between four and six million euros derived, in part, from public subsidies.
In the house there are no more candles than you might keep in case of blackout
Few Magallón people claim to have ever seen the seer, in the more than two years that she spent with her parents in this small municipality a few kilometers to the east of the larger town of Borja, also recently in the news on account of the botched restoration job on the church painting Ecce Homo, last summer’s viral internet phenomenon. “In terms of family or friends, she has no connection with Magallón,” says the mayor, Víctor Manuel Chueca.
While living a reclusive existence in her house, she made use of a high-tech system for handling telephone calls for fortune-telling and the solving of romantic problems, an activity that supplied an income sufficient for first-class travel, luxury hotels and brand-name clothing and accessories — especially handbags, a sort of obsession that is apparent on her Facebook profile, where she says she now lives in Andorra. In the three-floor, 700-square-meter house she acquired in a bank auction, no esoteric paraphernalia is to be seen, or any more candles than you might keep on hand in case of blackout.
For a rural town like Magallón (1,200 inhabitants) however, there is an amazing clutter of boxes of high-priced shoes and perfumes, big screens, and the Vietnamese pig she said she acquired in emulation of the actor George Clooney and the heiress Paris Hilton.
If there are people dumb enough to pay for this…” says the oracle’s father
The Civil Guard confiscated more than 167,000 euros found in the heavily barred house, when, on the rainy morning of May 15 they came in response to a phone call from the clairvoyant herself. A crew of antenna installers, seeing the police cars, approached and saw that Laparra and his companions — Carmen, 50, and two men, Youssef and Juan José, 25 and 27 — were by then outside the house.
There are two versions of what preceded the arrest. The fortune-teller said that Laparra and his friends came into the house without her consent, demanded the return of the 165,000 euros that Laparra, a bachelor of 46 with coronary problems, had paid for a love spell that didn’t work. The alleged housebreakers claimed that it was Vicente, the fortune-teller’s father, who opened the door to them, and that the trouble arose when the money returned was much less than the quantity paid. It was then when Lucía, hiding under a bed, called the police number.
“I run a psychological assistance service,” said the oracle. Her father, who knew of her business, put it differently: “If there are people dumb enough to pay for this…” The police confiscated 22,500 euros in the possession of one of the alleged housebreakers, and, returning later and searching the house with the seer’s consent, found some 140,000 euros, in banknotes of 500 and 200, which are also being held in view of possible tax evasion.