Feds Claim Gallery Owner Swiped $4 Million

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A Madison Avenue art dealer defrauded a client of $4 million by selling works by Picasso, Manet, Matisse, Renoir and others, and keeping the money himself, federal prosecutors say.
     Robert Scott Cook used his gallery, Cook Fine Art, to defraud a client by selling 16 of the collector’s artworks without telling him, according to the indictment.
     The watercolors, drawings and other art included works by Klee and Kandinsky, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     “Cook sold this artwork to various galleries and auction houses for $4,293, 270. He failed to give the proceeds of those sales to the collector, and lied to the collector about the status of the art. Cook kept nearly all of the proceeds, except for approximately $100,000 that was paid to galleries as commissions,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
     An FBI spokeswoman added: “The allegation of the complaint is that Mr. Cook is a crook.”
     If convicted, Cook, 62, of New York City, faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of twice his ill-gotten gains.

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