ROCKVILLE, Md. - A fortuneteller now sees her future _ and it involves 18 months behind bars. Grace Uwanawich, also known as "Mrs. Grace," was sentenced this week in Maryland after admitting that she defrauded clients by convincing them to hand over tens of thousands of dollars so that she could crush destructive curses.

"This is beyond fortunetelling for entertainment purposes," Montgomery Assistant State's Attorney Carol Crawford said Monday. She compared Uwanawich to a "leech" who drained money from vulnerable middle-aged women.

"I promise in Jesus' name I'm not going to do this again," Uwanawich said before being sentenced to 18 months in jail. "I know it sounds like I'm using Jesus. I am ashamed."

Uwanawich, whose plea deal includes nearly $257,000 in restitution to four former clients, has been in trouble with the law before. She was arrested in Chester County, Pa., and later in Philadelphia during the 1990s in connection with similar scams, court records show.

But the punishment Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Eric M. Johnson imposed appeared to be the most severe Uwanawich has faced, Crawford said.

Prosecutors say the fortuneteller's clients included a 57-year-old Poolesville woman who gave Uwanawich more than $160,000 in cash and property over the course of a year.

Their relationship began at a shopping mall, when Uwanawich approached the woman, who was depressed, and handed her a flier promoting her psychic powers.

During meetings at Uwanawich's Chevy Chase apartment, the woman was told that she and her family had a curse that dated to the building of the Great Wall of China. The evidence came in the form of an egg Uwanawich cracked that had blood, hair and an awful smell.

Authorities said Uwanawich stopped giving the woman appointments after wiping out her bank accounts, maxing out her credit cards and tricking her into buying a Mercedes Benz that she never got to drive.