Fake Psychics Helped Woman Steal $180M in Art from Elderly Mom, Police Say – National

A Brazilian woman was arrested on Wednesday after police discovered she had staged an elaborate scheme to cheat her elderly mother out of valuable works of art.

Sabine Coll Boghici, 48, is accused of using a ring of fraudulent psychics to defraud her mother Genevieve Boghici, 82, of around 724 million reais or $180 million in art, jewelry and money, according to a Rio de Janeiro police statement.

Police say the racket began in January 2020 when Genevieve, the widow of renowned Brazilian art collector Jean Boghici, was contacted by someone who claimed to be a psychic who saw a vision of her daughter Sabine’s death.

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The fake psychic then introduced her to other psychics, who used the personal information Sabine provided to convince the older woman that her claims were genuine. The psychic ring used its bargaining chips to extract money from Genevieve for “spiritual treatment” to save her daughter from her prophesied death, according to NBC News and the BBC.

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The suspects were later accused of physically threatening the elderly woman, and Sabine ended up keeping her mother inside after growing suspicious of the plan.

Sabine and a psychic then began stealing artwork from Genevieve’s home, telling her that the paintings were cursed with negative energy that required “praying,” police officer Gilberto Ribeiro said, according to Reuters.

Eventually, Genevieve sought help from the police, who uncovered the plan.

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At least 16 paintings were stolen from the elderly woman, police said, including works by famous Brazilian artists Cicero Dias, Rubens Gerchman and Alberto Guignard.

Three of the stolen paintings were by the famous modernist Tarsila do Amaral. Those three paintings alone were said to be worth 700 million reais, or just under $175 million.

Police say they have recovered 14 of the stolen paintings, after finding 11 in a raid on the home of one of the accused psychics and three that had been sold to an art gallery in Sao Paulo. However, at least two paintings have yet to be recovered, including pieces that were sold to a Buenos Aires museum.

A video posted to Twitter by a local media outlet shows the moment when one of Amaral’s paintings Sol Poente (meaning setting sun) was found in a bed frame hidden under a mattress.

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At least seven people have been implicated in the years-long conspiracy, Reuters reported. Police said four were arrested on Wednesday, including Sabine, but the others remain at large.

The defendants face charges of embezzlement, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment and criminal association.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

https://globalnews.ca/news/9053365/180m-stolen-art-psychics-rio-de-janeiro/ Fake Psychics Helped Woman Steal $180M in Art from Elderly Mom, Police Say – National


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