MANHATTAN (CN) - The man who owns the Proarte Gallery in New York and Miami was charged with selling fake Matisse, Chagall, Calder and other artworks, and creating phony documentation for them. Giuseppe Concepcion commissioned forgeries that he sold to his victims as authentic, federal prosecutors say.
Concepcion is charged with running the phony art scam from May 2005 through March 2007 at his art and antiques stores. One way he operated was to acquire genuine works by sale or consignment, and then commissioning forgeries that he sold as real, after creating false provenances, certificates of authenticity and forged gallery and auction labels, prosecutors say.
According to the indictment, Concepcion sold a phony Calder painting, "Red Swirl," for $180,000, which the victim paid with a check for $120,000 and a 2004 Bentley. This victim, from Greenwich, Conn., bought 14 other fakes from Conception, according to the indictment.
He sold "Victim 2" a phony Chagall, "Fleurs Rouges Et Bleues," for $125,000, the complaint states.
"Victim 3" paid $160,000 for a phony Tom Wesselman oil, "Study for Smoker #16," prosecutors say. All these works allegedly came with phony documentation.
He is charged with interstate transportation of stolen property (the checks used to buy the fake art), and wire fraud. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, plus a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of his ill-gotten gains.
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