Her arrest exposed a disturbing web of fraud that police say went on for years and involved alleged middlemen to deceive the artworks of some of Brazil’s most famous painters. Four other people were also arrested, and two others, Diana Rosa Aparecida Stanescu Voletic and Slavko Voletic, escaped.
The scam began in 2020 when a supposed psychic approached Genevieve with prophecies of her daughter’s impending death.
The victim was then taken to several intermediaries who police say used personal information provided by her daughter to trick her stricken mother into diverting money to pay for “spiritual healing”.
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In the months that followed, police alleged that the suspects had physically threatened Genevieve and that her daughter had held her at home for several months.
Gilberto Ribeiro, a Rio de Janeiro police officer, said Sabine and her partner, who pretended to be a psychic, “began to take the artwork from (the mother’s) house, claiming that the painting was cursed with something negative, with a negative energy that should be prayed for.” .
After nearly a year of abuse by Sabine and her accomplices, the victim decided to go to the police.
Police say 16 paintings were stolen, including works by famous Brazilian artists such as Cicero Dias, Rubens Gershman and Alberto Ginyard.
Tarsila do Amaral’s painting “Sol Puente” after it was confiscated during a police operation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday. attributed to him: Policia Civil de Rio de Janeiro / REUTERS
Three pieces from the iconic modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral – “O Sono”, “Sol Poente” and “Pont Neuf” – were also stolen and together police estimated their value at 700 million reais ($137.69 million).
Amaral’s “Sol Puente” was among 11 found Wednesday in a police raid in Rio de Janeiro on a psychiatrist’s home.
Authorities have also recovered three paintings in São Paulo. Two have been sold to a museum in Buenos Aires but have not yet been recovered.
Police say seven people are suspected of involvement in the years-long crime and face charges of embezzlement, theft, extortion, false imprisonment and criminal association.
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