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Psst! Wanna Buy A Chagall?

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Trustee Auctioneers, Elmo Brothers, Asher Milchman, Morris Milchman, and Susan Milchman defraud people by selling bogus art - including six fake Chagall prints they sold for $19,047 - the State of California claims in Superior Court.

The defendants work out of Canoga Park, with offices in Chatsworth and Woodland Hills. Among their scams was selling six cheap Chagall reproductions "that had virtually no aesthetic or monetary value" for $19,046.59 to unsophisticated buyers at a Sept. 23, 2006 auction at The Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, the State says. They also operate as Asher Milchman Auctions, Asher Milchman Auctioneers and Empire Auctions, and they do it without licenses or permits, the State says.

The Milchmans deceptively advertised their Studio City scam in the LA Times as "one of the most important private collections to come up for Sale (sic) ... pursuant (sic) to Major Divorce Settlement," the State says.

They also claimed to have "master graphics hand signed and numbered by Picasso (le clown), Miro, Manet, Chagall, Matisse, 'original oils' by Pissarro,' 'rare Degas etchings,' 'Erte bronze' and even 'Picasso's study for guernica (sic)," the State says.

But the State says - this may surprise you - it was all bogus, and the defendants knew it.

Courthouse News is particularly impressed by "le Clown."

The state wants to fine the Milchmans, and it wants them ordered not to do it again.

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