Does hand surgeon's missing cash lead to Russian artist?
Houston hand surgeon Michael Brown's life in South Florida played out like a real Hollywood drama. He had lavish parties at his multi-million dollar waterfront estate and surrounded himself with beautiful women, fancy cars and extravagant jewelry.
At the beginning of the year, Brown filed for bankruptcy, listing millions of dollars in debt. Hundreds of items were recently removed from his Miami Beach mansion, including pricey furniture, expensive artwork and jewelry. One piece, a Rolex Yachtmaster II, was valued at $18,000.
A neighbor said there was so much commotion in the neighborhood on moving day, it was like being on the set of a big budget blockbuster.
"There were times where I actually had to back out and drive the wrong way to actually get to my house," said neighbor Pablo Vivas.
Brown died on November 8 following a suicide attempt.
Not everything of Brown's has been accounted for. His Russian girlfriend voluntarily turned over $159,000 in cash along with some diamond jewelry, but a cloth suitcase, possibly stuffed with cash and six valuable glass sculptures, remains missing.
According to court documents, Brown and his girlfriend twice delivered property to the North Miami home of Irina Bogatcheva, once in August and again two weeks before he suffered cardiac arrest. Bogatcheva is a Russian artist who also goes by "Anastasia the Great."
"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I don't have it," she said.
Bogatcheva denied hiding Brown's assets even after being shown the court documents.
"This is a lie. It's a lie because I'm a very famous person and this is why people point at me. They say a lot of crazy things about me. Sometimes they say I'm a man. I'm a woman," she said.
Bogatcheva said she met Brown a few months ago at a party in Miami. She claimed he wanted her to paint a portrait and was going to pay her $30,000.
"That's what I see -- beautiful girls around him, high life, so I thought he could afford it. I was innocent. I just tried to make a nice amount of money. I don't have suitcases of nobody and I don't need them really. I make a lot of money on my own," said Bogatcheva.
Bogatcheva and a 40-year-old French model living in Miami have been ordered to appear in a federal bankruptcy court for questioning.