The Knoedler Gallery story was in the news again recently, as Glafira Rosales, the dealer at the heart of the fraud, was indicted by the US Attorney’s office in New York. The indictment details an extensive fraudulent scheme, involving over 60 works of art and $30 million.
The indictment alleges that over a 15 year period, Rosales sold paintings to two galleries that purported to be by notable artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning. Rosales claimed that she obtained the works from two anonymous collectors, one from Switzerland and the other from Spain. Instead, it is claimed that Rosales knowingly sold fraudulent works, funneling the proceeds into various bank accounts maintained by her or her boyfriend.
One interesting aspect of the indictment is the extent of the tax crimes and money laundering charges. Indeed, the fact that the paintings sold were fake seems secondary.
But on that issue, a recent article raises an interesting question: how will the US Attorney’s office establish that the works are counterfeit? In a number of related civil suits, the plaintiffs used forensic conservator James Martin, who analyzed the type of paint used to create the works. But the civil defendants have challenged those findings, and it will be interesting to see how this issue impacts the criminal case. Unfortunately for Rosales, she will still need to face the battery of financial crimes.
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