Showing posts with label credit fraud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label credit fraud. Show all posts

November 21, 2013

Knoedler & Company and Julian Weissman: Milton Esterow, Editor and Publisher of ARTnews, on "Fakers, Fakes & Fake Fakers" and the Glafira Rosales Art Fraud Case

In publisher Milton Esterow's article "Fakers, Fakes and Fake Fakers" in ARTNews, he focuses on art forgery and 'well-known forgers reveal the creative methods they use to copy the masters: David Stein (died 1999) who turned out Marc Chagalls; Eric Hebborn (murdered in Rome in 1996) who forged and misattributed to give the art experts something to discover; Leo Stevenson a 'London copyist' who has made copies for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office; and Elmyr de Hory (suicide in 1976) the subject of Clifford Irving's biography Fake!.
Art forgery has been a hot topic lately since the disclosure that Pei-Shen Qian, a 73-year-old immigrant from China, working out of his home in Queens, reportedly created at least 63 drawings and paintings by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline, and Richard Diebenkorn.
The works were sold or consigned by Glafira Rosales, a dealer of Sands Point, New York, to two Manhattan dealers, Knoedler & Company, which closed in 2011, and Julian Weissman. Over a period of 15 years, the works were sold to collectors for about $80 million. Knoedler, its former president Ann Freedman, and Weissman have consistently stated that they were convinced that the works were authentic. Freedman says she showed the paintings to a number of experts, who confirmed the authenticity and quality of the works. 
The case against Rosales is known as United States of America v. Glafira Rosales, a/k/a “Glafira Gonzalez,” a/k/a “Glafira Rosales Rojas,” defendant. She pleaded guilty in September to charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. As we went to press, no one else had been charged in the case, but Assistant United States Attorney Jason P. Hernandez indicated that additional arrests were contemplated.
In May, 2013, "Manhattan US Attorney Charges Art Dealer with Hiding Millions of Dollars in Income from Fraudulent Sales of Artwork";

In July, 2013, "Long Island Art Dealer Indicted in Massive Art Fraud, Money Laundering, and Tax Scheme"; and

In September 2013, "Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to $80 million Fake Art Scam, Money Laundering, and Tax Charges".

November 22, 2010

ARCA Lecturer Richard Ellis weighs in on recovery of stolen paintings from Malmö Art Museum

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin

Swedish police recovered three paintings that had not been reported stolen from the Malmö Art Museum last month during an investigation into a case concerning credit fraud in the taxi sector. The case was covered here in The Local, Sweden’s News in English. Mark Durney’s Art Theft Central urged police investigators to reveal how and why the paintings were in possession of individuals with ties to a credit card case in an article on October 7 . The ARCA blog sought additional insight on this case from one of its instructors, Richard Ellis, former Director of Scotland Yard’s Arts & Antiquities Unit.

“In my experience, unlicensed taxi services (sometimes referred to as mini-cabs) have frequently been involved in criminal groups, committing such crimes as burglary, fraud and local drug distribution,” Mr. Ellis wrote in an email this month. “I suspect that this was an unlicensed taxi service and therefore it is not a surprise that they were involved in credit card frauds.

“Professional criminals often operate in more than one area of crime and a lot of art recovered by police is found whilst investigating other crimes,” he continued.

Mr. Ellis cited the robbery at the National Gallery in Stockholm in 2000 when three masked and armed robbers walked into Stockholm’s National Museum and took a small self-portrait on copper by Rembrandt and two paintings by Renoir (“A Young Parisienne” and “Conversation”) and escaped in a boat, diverting police by setting cars on fire in nearby streets. Renoir’s “Conversation” was recovered one year later when Swedish police raided the place of known drug traffickers. In 2005, the other two paintings were recovered when police infiltrated a U. S.-based crime syndicate: Renoir’s “A Young Parisienne” was recovered in Los Angeles and Rembrandt’s self-portrait was recouped in Copenhagen. “In this case, the stolen art was used to fund other criminal activities,” Mr. Ellis wrote.

“In the current case, the painting by Munch was stolen because they recognized that in theory it would attract a high cash value,” Mr. Ellis continued in his email response to the ARCA blog. “However, whether they had the knowledge required to capitalize on this is not clear and it is this ability in knowing how to dispose of stolen art that sets an art thief apart from other criminals."

The Munch painting is worth around 10 million kroner ($1.5 million) and was found with two paintings by Gustaf Rydberg and Pär Siegaard. Munch's 1913 “Two friends”, which portrays two dogs and is thought to have been done when the Norwegian painter was living in Germany, is the Malmö Art Museum’s only work by the artist.

Founded in 1841, the Malmö Art Museum collection contains 32,000 works from the 16th century to the present. The museum building from 1937 is in the Malmöhus castle complex, one of the oldest remaining renaissance castles in Scandinavia.