The widow of late art collector Jean Boghici has been swindled out of almost $150 million worth of paintings in Brazil by her daughter as part of an elusive plot to convince the elderly woman they were cursed.
Genevieve Boghici’s daughter, Sabine Coll Boghici, was arrested during the week as one of the seven people involved in defrauding her 82-year-old mother for at least 16 paintings, which included museum-quality pieces from Brazilian artists Tarsila do Amaral and Emiliano Di Cavalcanti.
So far, local media report that three conmen have been arrested, including the widow’s daughter, and other conmen involved in the swindle are still at large.
The widow, who holds mystical beliefs, was convinced to make bank transfers totalling R$5 million reais ($1.38 million) over the course of two weeks for supposed “spiritual treatment”.
Her daughter, who allegedly encouraged the payments, started to isolate her mother and began to fire domestic employees in her mother’s home so her accomplices could enter the residence freely and remove the artworks.
It’s alleged that the widow made additional bank transfers after receiving physical threats from her daughter and the accomplices.
Three of the artworks, collectively worth more than R$300 million reais ($82.9 million), were recovered in an art gallery in São Paulo in Brazil.
According to the statement, the gallery’s owner told police he had purchased them directly from the daughter, Ms Boghici, and sold two others to the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires. He believed the art sale was legitimate.
Police also found an additional ten paintings and works hidden under a bed of one of the alleged thieves, including one of Brazil’s most famous artworks, Sol Poente – or ‘Setting Sun’ in English.