Art Dealer Pleads Guilty in Selling Fake Works to NY Galleries
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that art dealer GLAFIRA ROSALES pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to participating in a scheme to sell more than 60 fake works of modern art to two New York art galleries. Her victims paid more than $80 million for the fake works. ROSALES also pled guilty to conspiracy to sell the fake works, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and several tax crimes related to the fake art scheme. ROSALES pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Katherine P. Failla.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "With her guilty plea today, Glafira Rosales acknowledges her role in a sprawling fraud that involved the commission of phony artworks she represented as real, and her efforts to hide the proceeds of this massive scam in foreign bank accounts. Rosales's plea shows that no matter how wide-ranging the deception, this Office will continue to bring the perpetrators of fraud to justice."
According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, Indictment, superseding Indictment, and statements made in court:
ROSALES was an art dealer who, starting in 1994 and continuing through 2009, sold more than 60 never-before-exhibited and previously unknown works of art (the "Works") that she claimed were by the hand of some of the most famous artists of the twentieth century, such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Robert Motherwell. She sold the Works to two prominent Manhattan art galleries for approximately $33.2 million. The galleries, in turn, sold the Works to victims of ROSALES's crime for more than $80 million.
The Works were fakes created by a painter (the "Painter") who resided in Queens, New York. ROSALES conspired with her long-time companion, identified as a co-conspirator ("CC-1") in the superseding Indictment, to procure and sell the Works and to launder the proceeds of the fraud. CC-1 first met and befriended the Painter in Manhattan in the 1980s while the Painter was painting on the street. The Painter, who received formal art training at an art school in New York, created the Works for ROSALES and CC-1 at the Painter's home in Queens. In some instances, the Painter signed the purported artist's name to the Works, such as Jackson Pollock, but in other cases, CC-1 applied the false signatures. After ROSALES and CC-1 retrieved the Works from the Painter, CC-1 gave the Works the false patina of age by subjecting the Works to a number of different treatments.