Does trail of Michael Brown's missing cash lead to Russian artist?

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston hand surgeon Michael Brown's life in Miami 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 tells Local 2, 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.

Not everything of Brown's has been accounted for. Brown's 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 Miami home of Irina Bogatcheva, once in August and again, two weeks before he suffered cardiac arrest. Bogatcheva is a flamboyant Russian artist, who also goes by 'Anastasia the Great.' We tracked Bogatcheva to her home in north Miami.

"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I don't have it," Bogatcheva said.

She still denied hiding Brown's assets even after Local 2 showed her 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," Bogatcheva said.

Bogatcheva said she met Brown a few months ago at a party in Miami. She claims 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," Bogatcheva said.

But the trail of Brown's riches doesn't end in South Florida. Read more on the future of his Central Texas ranch in a story by Joel Eisenbaum.

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