Sabine Boghici, a model who was under investigation for her alleged involvement in a multimillion-pound scam against her own mother, has tragically passed away after a mysterious fall from a building.
The incident occurred on September 14th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when Sabine plummeted from the fifth floor of a building. She was discovered at the base of the structure but succumbed to her injuries.
At her funeral three days later, her mother, 83-year-old Geneviève Boghici, was in attendance, while Sabine’s wife, Rosa Stanesco Nicolau, was unable to obtain authorization to attend due to her current imprisonment on remand related to her alleged role in the scam against her mother-in-law.
Authorities investigating Sabine’s death are said to be exploring various hypotheses, including the possibility of suicide. It has been reported that Sabine left a letter for her wife before her tragic demise.
Sabine, aged 49, was the daughter of the late art collector Jean Boghici, who arrived in Brazil from Romania in 1948. He owned one of Brazil’s most significant art collections of the 20th century and passed away in 2015 at the age of 87.
Sabine had been arrested in August the previous year and was subsequently imprisoned alongside her wife before being released on bail in March. They were scheduled to appear at a court hearing on September 21st.
Police have accused Sabine of stealing 16 paintings from her late father’s collection, which had passed to her mother. Among the stolen artworks were pieces by renowned artists Tarsila do Amaral and Emiliano Di Cavalcanti. It has been reported that at least two of these paintings ended up in Argentina.
According to authorities, Sabine is alleged to have deceived, extorted, threatened, and even physically assaulted her own mother in the course of the scam. It is estimated that Geneviève was conned out of approximately BRL 725 million (GBP 120 million).
The elaborate plan orchestrated by Sabine is said to have begun in early 2020 when she purportedly paid a woman to pose as a psychic and approach her mother on the street, warning her of her daughter’s impending death. Subsequently, two other women posing as a fortune teller and a ‘mãe de santo’ (a priestess in Afro-Brazilian religions) “confirmed” the initial prediction and advised Geneviève to pay for “spiritual work” to save her daughter.
As the deception unfolded, Geneviève made regular transfers to these women. However, by early February, she started to realize she was being duped and ceased making the transfers. Allegedly, this prompted Sabine to resort to physical violence and threats against her mother.
The breakdown of Geneviève’s losses in the scam includes:
- Theft of 16 paintings: BRL 709 million (GBP 118 million)
- Theft of jewelry: BRL 6 million (GBP 998,000)
- Payment for “spiritual work”: BRL 5 million (GBP 831,000)
- Transfers made under threat: BRL 4 million (GBP 665,000)
Police chief Gilberto Ribeiro commented on the case, stating, “The daughter and Rosa began taking the artworks from the house, claiming that the paintings had the evil eye, something negative that needed to be prayed for. They kept taking them, and the elderly woman saw it but couldn’t refuse; she was completely subdued at that moment. They kept taking them and took 16 paintings.”
Sabine’s and Rosa’s lawyer, Hugo Novais, noted, “The statute of limitations is triggered by death, and only the other individuals involved in the case continue to face the legal process.”
At the time of her passing, Sabine had amassed more than 5,000 followers on Instagram, where she described herself as a voice actress, model, and singer.