The daughter of a wealthy Brazilian art collector used false fortune tellers to convince her mother that family heirloom paintings were being possessed and that they were being removed from the home as part of an elaborate scheme to swindle the family property, according to a Brazilian police report.
Former model Sabine Boghici, 48, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday for stealing $140 million worth of artwork and jewelry from her mother, Geneviève Boghici, widow of the late Romanian art dealer Jean Boghici, as well as an undermining amount of cash that built a multi-million dollar business in Brazil. She is also charged with embezzlement, extortion and false imprisonment.
At some point in her late teens, Sabine was said to have become obsessed with dogs and kept dozens of them in the family homes. According to Brazilian news reports, she tried to pressure her mother into buying her an apartment just for the animals. When she refused, she reportedly began seeking revenge on her mother, which led to her downfall.
Police Chief Gilberto Ribeiro told Reuters that the daughter began stealing the works in 2020. Brazilian press reports say that at the time she used the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to fire the domestic help who had been looking after her mother since her father’s death. When the mother resisted, she once held a knife to her neck to threaten her, her mother told police.
Authorities said she also held her mother captive and attempted to starve her to death before the mother hired a friend to change the locks on one of the family’s lavish apartments to keep Sabine away.
Police say that before her mother was jailed, Sabine had convinced friends to pose as psychics, who allegedly approached her mother outside a bank and told her that her daughter’s ill-fated attempt to lock her up was because of demons in the family artwork they would have owned. The “psychics” then visited the house and claimed that the paintings “were cursed with something negative, with negative energy that needed to be prayed for,” Ribeiro said. They then extorted thousands of dollars from the widow – who was paying to “clean” the paintings to save her wayward daughter.
“They took 16 paintings,” including works by renowned Brazilian artists, according to Brazil’s Metropolis news agency, including three works by modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral valued at $137.69 million, the official said.
The family made headlines in 2012 when a fire that started when the air conditioning in Sabine’s bedroom shorted out destroyed the family’s Rio home, destroying a number of prized works and killing two of the family’s 16 cats, according to UOL News Brazil.
Sabine Boghici previously worked as a model for The One Agency, which resulted in a number of publicly available images of her – many of them in her father’s art collection.
Two accomplices of the former heiress were also arrested on charges of complicity.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/sabine-boghici-art-collector-heiress-used-fake-psychics-to-scam-mom-out-of-millions-say-police?source=articles&via=rss Sabine Boghici, art collector heiress, used false psychics to cheat mother out of millions, police say