(CN) - A family trust claims a husband and wife duped it for $6 million, including $2 million for a forged Picasso painting from a gallery that gave the couple an $800,000 kickback.
Victor Sands of the Sands Family Trust sued Jack and Leslie Kavanaugh in Los Angeles Superior Court for a "highly successful scheme" to manipulate him out of his family money.
"While the Kavanaughs continue to live a life of ostentatious opulence, complete with a multi-million dollar Brentwood home filled with their collection of fine art, fine wine and a Ferrari in the driveway, a portion of which has been undoubtedly underwritten by Sands, himself, Sands has been left to seek redress from the court," according to the complaint.
Sands claims Jack induced him to invest more than $6 million into a series of "dubious ventures," including the purchase of a Pablo Picasso forgery.
Jack told Sands in 2006 that buying "La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu (Portrait of Jane Avril)" at $2 million in a discreet sale was "a steal" since the painting had a market value of $4 million," according to the complaint.
Sands says he worried that he may have overpaid when he later learned that a similar Picasso painting had been sold at an auction for $1.5 million
The Kavanaughs, along with gallery owner Tatiana Khan, reassured Sands that the painting was worth more than the one sold at the auction because "La Femme" had superior brush strokes and composition, according to the complaint.
When a Picasso expert examined the Sands' "La Femme" two years later, he says he learned the piece was a forgery.
Khan paid the Kavanaughs an $800,000 kickback disguised as a "loan," according to the complaint.
Since the parties cannot agree on the terms of the loan, however, Sands claims the money was "nothing more than an undisclosed disbursement of Kavanaugh's share of the proceeds from defrauding Sands."
Jack also convinced Sands to buy paintings he claimed were by Marc Chagall, Willem de Kooning and Pierre Auguste Renoir, and "represented outstanding investment opportunities that were sure to earn Sands a substantial return on his initial investment," according to the complaint.
Sands says he overpaid for the Chagall, which is authentic but not would never fetch the $1 million that Jack promised. He adds that the de Kooning and Renoir were never delivered to him, and he was never refunded the $175,000 deposits that he paid.Sands sued the Kavanaughs and 21 unknown defendants for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, conversion and breach of contract. He is represented by Matthew Taylor with Taylor Sethi.
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