A New York art dealer was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on July 17, 2013 on numerous charges, including the sale of 63 works of forged paintings from 1994 to 2009 that the art dealer knew were forged, and false statements that were made regarding the authenticity and provenance of the paintings, as reported in this article.

At the art dealer’s arraignment last Friday, July 19, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Ms. Glafira Rosales plead not guilty to charges of money laundering, wire fraud, the filing of false tax returns and failing to report foreign bank accounts.  According to this article, Rosales reportedly accumulated in excess of $33M from selling what she claimed were “unknown pieces” by well-known artists that were in fact forged art. 

As set forth in the indictment, from the period 1994 to 2009 Rosales “engaged in a scheme to sell dozens of works of fake art” by acclaimed artists (i.e., Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning), which “were never before exhibited and previously unknown”. The accused art dealer represented to the art galleries that the paintings were authentic, when “in truth and in fact, and as Rosales then and there knew the ‘Rosales Works’ were fake and were not by the hand of the artists that Rosales claimed that they were,” as alleged in the indictment.

The indictment further alleges that Rosales was not truthful to the galleries regarding the provenance of the art works and represented that some of the paintings originated from a Swiss client “who did not exist” and a Spanish collector “who never owned any of the Rosales Works”.  According to the indictment, Rosales made these statements “with the knowledge and intent that they be repeated to purchasers and potential purchasers,” and such “fraudulent statements were material” to those purchasers.

According further to the indictment, victims of Rosales’ alleged massive art fraud paid out more than $80M collectively for the paintings that they later learned were forged.

If found guilty of the charges and convicted, Rosales could serve 20 years each on the money laundering and wire fraud charges as well as additional years on the tax charges. The federal government is also seeking the forfeiture of all assets traced to the sales of the forged art works.