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Brazilian police say daughter used psychic scam to steal from mother

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Brazilian police say daughter used psychic scam to steal from mother
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A rich, elderly widow was leaving a Brazilian bank in January 2020 when a psychic approached with a dire prophecy: Her daughter would soon fall ill and die.

To prove this, the diviner had the widow participate in a divination game involving cowrie shells, and then took her to two more seers who spoke of freeing her daughter from the “evil spirit” that would soon possess her. would harass, the Brazilian newspaper Correio Brazilianiense reported.

The widow, Geneviève Boghici, became skeptical when the psychics charged her the Brazilian equivalent of nearly $1 million for their fortune-telling services, and she turned to her daughter for advice, according to Correio Braziliense.

She told her mother to pay them immediately, the newspaper reported.

Over the next two weeks, the 82-year-old followed that advice by shelling out about $970,000 for “mental treatment” in what police in Brazil say was a multimillion-dollar scam led by the very daughter whose trusted advisor Boghici. . Instead of honoring that trust, police said the daughter spent years orchestrating a group of alleged psychics to swindle about $140 million in high art, jewelry and money from her mother.

On Wednesday, Rio de Janeiro police assigned to work elder abuse cases arrested four members of the gang that targeted Boghici, police said in a statement. According to Reuters, those in custody included the daughter, and they face charges of embezzlement, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment and criminal association.

In total, police believe at least six people were involved, which means the investigation is ongoing.

The scam began that day in January 2020 when 48-year-old Sabine Boghici allegedly fed inside information to the psychologists she sent to bump her mother, intelligence they would use to gain her trust, Reuters reported .

After hooking her mother, Sabine and her accomplices allegedly spent months maintaining the scam to get the woman’s money, jewelry and artwork. In one part of the march, Sabine and an accomplice posing as a psychologist “found the artwork of the [mother’s] house, claiming that the painting is cursed with something negative, with negative energy that needs to be prayed over,” Rio de Janeiro police officer Gilberto Ribeiro told Reuters.

Sabine then apparently fired her mother’s domestic workers so that her accomplices could enter the house and take the artwork unhindered, the Associated Press reported. At one point, when her mother refused to continue making cash payments, Sabine reportedly took away her cellphone, stopped feeding her and threatened her with a knife, according to Correio Braziliense.

In the course of the scam, the suspects are accused of stealing 16 pieces of art, including museum-quality paintings by Brazilian masters Tarsila do Amaral and Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, according to the AP. Three of the stolen works – “O Sono”, “Sol Poente” and “Pont Neuf” – were painted by Amaral, described by the Museum of Modern Art as a “daring modernist” with a “characteristic style of sensual , vibrant landscapes and everyday scenes.”

During a raid on the home of one of the suspected psychics, police found 11 paintings under a bed, Reuters reported. At the bottom of the pile, they discovered “Sol Poente,” which investigators say was valued at about $48.5 million.

Police captured on video the moment an officer discovered the work, according to the AP.

“Wow! Look who’s here!” the officer exclaimed as she removed the bubble wrap from the painting. “Oh, little beauty. Glory!”

The painting is a lush depiction of unidentified mammals wading through blue waters. Behind them, a green tree, a green hill, some green cacti. Behind it all, a brilliant, radiant sun that ripples throughout and dominates the background.

The title of the multimillion-dollar masterpiece — allegedly stolen and hidden away only to be unearthed at the unseemly end of an unraveling art plot — translates as “Setting Sun.”

María Luisa Paúl contributed to this report.

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