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Rome - An occultist who sold apartments for use in the afterlife was being held in custody in the Italian town of Sanremo, said police on Thursday.
Francesco De Barba, 50, had been a fugitive since December when a court in Verona sentenced him to four years in prison on charges that he swindled gullible customers.
Among them was a well-off woman from the Veneto region who paid more than €50 000 (about R500 000) to have him free her from witchcraft.
Police seized crystal balls, skulls, magic powders and other implements of sorcery found in his studio.
De Barba, who ran a television show and entertained customers in a number of cities, including Paris and Milan, became famous in Italy by predicting the winners of song contests and the results of sport events.
Police said De Barba requested a fee of €2 000 for each sorcery session and had succeeded in selling at least one flat in the afterlife.
Police did not disclose the amounts paid for the celestial properties.
De Barba is the latest victim of a police crackdown on charlatans and fortune-tellers operating in Italy.
Last January, police arrested Wanna Marchi, Italy's most famous charlatan, on charges of fraud and extortion.
Marchi, who like De Barba ran her own television show, told clients she could predict winning lottery numbers in exchange for €150 euros.
Police said Marchi had amassed a fortune worth more than €30-million between 1996 and 2001. - Sapa-DPA