Cops: Woman Scammed Own Mom in $140M Psychic Ruse

Sabine Boghici, 48, and accomplices are accused of conning her 82-year-old mother for years
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 12:16 PM CDT
Cops: Woman Scammed Own Mom in $140M Psychic Ruse
In this photo, officers show artist Tarsila do Amaral's painting titled "Sol Poente" after it was seized during a police operation in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.   (Rio de Janeiro Civil Police via AP)

A Brazilian woman was arrested this week and accused of recruiting a group of fake psychics to scam her own 82-year-old mother out of about $140 million in cash, artwork, and jewelry, reports the Washington Post. The alleged scheme began in January 2020, when Genevieve Boghici, the wealthy widow of art collector and dealer Jean Boghici, was exiting a bank in Brazil and approached by a fortune teller named "Diana," who informed Genevieve that her daughter, Sabine Boghici, was in danger of becoming sick and dying, per the police statement cited by the Correio Braziliense newspaper. Other soothsayers that Diana introduced Genevieve to were said to have backed up that claim. They also told the elderly woman they could rid Sabine of the "bad spirit" afflicting her if Genevieve forked over $1 million.

Genevieve was naturally suspicious of that high of a fee and ran it by her daughter, who convinced her mother to pay the money for the "spiritual treatment" to the psychics over the next two weeks, police say. The con then allegedly kicked into full gear, per Reuters: Police say Sabine and an accomplice started lifting expensive artwork out of Genevieve's home, claiming the art was "cursed with something negative," per a police spokesman. Sabine then allegedly fired all of her mother's domestic staff so that her group of thieves would be able to easily walk out of the residence with whatever art they wanted to take, per the AP.

Meanwhile, Genevieve—who'd allegedly been threatened the whole while by Sabine and her cohorts and deprived at times of food and her phone—finally had enough after about a year and contacted the police. All together, Sabine and her psychic gang are accused of lifting 16 pieces of art, including from Brazilian masters Tarsila do Amaral and Emiliano Di Cavalcanti. Police say at least six people are suspected of being involved in the crime ring. Per a police statement, four of them, including 48-year-old Sabine, were arrested Wednesday and are facing charges of robbery, embezzlement, false imprisonment, extortion, and criminal association. Two suspects remain on the run. (More psychic stories.)

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