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Art Theft

ROSALES, 57, of Sands Point, New York, pled guilty to nine counts, including: one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; three counts of filing false federal income tax returns, each of which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison; and two counts of willful failure to file Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, Form TD F 90-22.1, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. ROSALES’s total maximum term of imprisonment is 99 years.

She also agreed to forfeit $33,200,000, including her home in Sands Point, New York, and to pay restitution in an amount not to exceed $81 million. Rosales will be sentenced by Judge Failla on March 18, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.

As reported on September 4th, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara made cleaning up the New York art world his new job. Instead of delegating lesser prosecutions to assistant U.S. Attorneys while Preet pursued headlines with cases involving Wall Street predators like Bernie Madoff and Fabrice Tourre of Goldman Sachs, a shift in priorities has occurred. In a stunning turn of events four weeks ago Glafira Rosales, the former lead suspect in the Knoedler case, was released on bail while the expanded indictment indicated Rafiles provided insider evidence of a larger conspiracy, listed in the document are chargers of knowingly distributing forged works to two galleries. Despite that larger admitted role, Glafira was released and a statement by the US Attorneys office was issued, “More arrests expected.”

Proof of this personal shift is Mr Bharara's own signature on the larger indictment dated August 14, 2013, the one that goes beyond the formerly limited case of tax fraud against Rafiles into a larger one involving art fraud and wire fraud, with this signals that he intends to use Rafiles to work up the ladder. It was the way he dismantled Raj Rajaratnam of the Galleon Group, it is the way his office obsesses over Steven A. Cohen Capital, so expect this same strategy in a case that suddenly became personal. Next up former Knoedler Gallery director Ann Freedman, owner of Knoedler Gallery Michael Hammer, financial investor in Knoedler Gallery David Mirvish, and Julian Weismann. The latter has been the subject of a few lawsuits already.

While Michael Hammer has made sport of evasion as he dodged upwards of eleven attempts to be served legal papers in regards to this mess. Perhaps dodging Mr Bharara may prove to be more difficult.

hyperlink for full indictment:

About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...