A 48-year-old Brazilian woman, Sabine Col Boghici, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly giving her 82-year-old mother, Genevieve Boghisi, the wife of the late art collector Jean Boghisi money, artwork and jewelry totaling about 724 million reais ($142.42 million).
Her arrest has uncovered a disturbing web of fraud that police say lasted for years and involved alleged psychics to spoof artwork by some of Brazil’s most emblematic painters. Four others were also arrested and two others, Diana Rosa Aparecida Stanesco Vuletic and Slavko Vuletic, are absconding.
The scandal began in 2020 when Genevieve was approached by an alleged psychic with predictions of his daughter’s imminent death.
The victim was then taken to several more psychologists, who police say used personal information provided by her daughter to transfer money to pay for “spiritual healing” to her distraught mother.
In the months that followed, police alleged that the suspects physically threatened Genevieve and that her daughter kept her at home for months.
Rio de Janeiro police officer Gilberto Ribeiro said that Sabine and an accomplice posing as a psychic “began taking artwork from (mother’s) home, claiming that the painting was cursed with something negative.” Was, with negative energy, which needed to be prayed on.” ,
After being abused by Sabine and her accomplices for almost a year, the victim decided to go to the police.
Police say 16 paintings were stolen, including works by famous Brazilian artists such as Cicero Dias, Rubens Gerchmann and Alberto Guignard.
Three pieces by the iconic modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral – “O Sono,” “Sol Pointe” and “Pont Neuf” – were also stolen, which together were valued by the police at 700 million reais ($137.69 million) .
Amaral’s “Sol Pointe” was one of 11 pictures recovered Wednesday by Rio de Janeiro police raiding the home of a psychic.
Authorities also recovered three paintings in Sao Paulo. Two were sold to a museum in Buenos Aires but have yet to be recovered.
Police say the seven men are suspected of involvement in the crime of embezzlement, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment and facing years of criminal association charges.