Sabine Coll Boghici, 48, was among six other individuals who were arrested last week and accused of running a scheme to defraud Boghici’s mother, Genevieve Boghici, 82, out of 725 million reais (about $142 million USD) of money, artwork, and jewelry, Rio de Janeiro police said in a statement last Wednesday.
In January 2020, Genevieve Boghici, the widow of the late art collector Jean Boghici, was approached by a purported psychic bearing a chilling prophecy that her daughter’s death was near, according to local Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense, unless Genevieve participated in divination services with two other fortune tellers to free her daughter of the “bad spirit” plaguing her.
Genevieve Boghici, initially skeptical of the soothsayers, went on to ask her daughter for advice, who subsequently encouraged her to pay the psychics. The widow went on to spend millions of dollars for “spiritual treatment,” according to The Washington Post.
Little did Genevieve Boghici know that these psychics who claimed to know so much about her and her daughter were being fed the information by Sabine Boghici herself to make the scheme all the more believable.
In the months that followed, not only did Sabine Boghici and the phony psychics continue to con Genevieve Boghici out of millions of dollars, they are also accused of taking “the artwork from the [mother’s] house, claiming that the painting was cursed with something negative, with negative energy that needed to be prayed over,” Rio de Janeiro police officer Gilberto Ribeiro told Reuters.
As the scheme progressed, Sabine Boghici proceeded to fire domestic employees in her mother’s home so her accomplices could continue to steal artwork without suspicion, The Associated Press reported. At one point, when the widow denied to continue making payments, Sabine Boghici allegedly threatened her mother with a knife and took away her cellphone and refused to feed her, Correio Braziliense reported.
Law enforcement investigating the case also seized 11 stolen artworks from the home of one of the fake psychics, including a painting titled “Sol Poente” by artist Tarsila do Amaral valued at $48.5 million.
Sabine Boghici and four others who were allegedly involved in the scam face charges of embezzlement, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment, and criminal association, Reuters reported. Police believe that at least six people are involved in total as two others, Diana Rosa Aparecida Stanesco Vuletic and Slavko Vuletic, are on the run, according to the Reuters report.