April 17, 2011

FBI Announces Indictment of Chicago Art Dealers on Federal Fraud Charges for Allegedly Selling Counterfeit Limited Edition Fine Art Prints

ARCA received a charming email from a reader who follows this blog 'from time to time' who thought we might be interested in a recent investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about fraudulent art work for sale on the internet.

CHICAGO—The owner and an employee of a River North art gallery and a New York man were indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly producing and/or selling counterfeit limited edition fine art prints of renowned artists, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The charges stem from an international investigation of fraudulent artwork that became public in Chicago three years ago when federal agents executed search warrants at the Kass/Meridan Gallery (KMG), also doing business as Allegro Art, located on West Huron Street in Chicago. In March 2008, seven defendants from Europe, Florida, New York, and Illinois were charged with fraudulently producing and/or selling $5 million worth of counterfeit fine art prints. Subsequently, two additional defendants were charged. The indictment announced today brings to 12 the total number of defendants who have been charged in Chicago as a result of this investigation.
Allegedly, the fraudulent artwork has been sold for more than 15 years.  Kass/Meridian Gallery on Huron Street in Chicago has a website that offers for sale 'limited edition' works such as the Josef Albers image shown here.

Reporter Annie Sweeney for the Chicago Tribune writes about the story under "River North art gallery owner indicted in art scam."

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