May 21, 2013

Preet Bharara is the new Patrick Fitzgerald

A Belgian hedge fund guy paid $17 million for this "Jackson Pollock"
In an era when everything seems to be rigged for the powerful, one small consolation was that federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hadn't seemed to have gotten the memo. Fitzgerald was constantly putting governors of Illinois or West Wing apparatchiks on trial. 

Granted, being a prosecutor in Chicago ought to be a license to have a fun and fulfilling job.

Lately, Preet Bharara, the Manhattan United States Attorney, has become the prosecutor walking around with a bucket while it rains money (e.g., the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading trials), such as this case:
Dealer at Center of Art Scandal Arrested on Tax Charges 
In a case of alleged forgeries that roiled the New York art market and led to a host of civil lawsuits, federal authorities on Tuesday declared a series of works sold as Modernist masterpieces to be fake and charged a little-known Long Island dealer at the center of the scandal with tax fraud. 
Glafira Rosales
Prosecutors charged that the dealer, Glafira Rosales, 56, of Sands Point, N.Y., failed to disclose $12.5 million that she had earned from the sale of the works and had never reported, as required, that she had Spanish bank accounts where she had hidden much of the proceeds. 
“As alleged, Glafira Rosales gave new meaning to the phrase ‘artful dodger’ by avoiding taxes on millions of dollars in income from dealing in fake artworks for fake clients,” Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement announcing Ms. Rosales’s arrest. 
... But according to the government’s case, an apparently talented forger — or forgers — confounded the art world for years by turning out realistic-looking works said to be by masters including Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. 
... Beginning in the mid-1990s, Ms. Rosales sold most of the disputed works through the East 70th Street offices of Knoedler & Company, which was at the time New York’s oldest gallery. The works, all new to the market and many said to be from a collector based in Zurich and Mexico City whom Ms. Rosales initially refused to name, were embraced by Knoedler, which sold them for millions. They became an important source of revenue for the gallery. 
But then several experts called the works fake, and the F.B.I. began an investigation. In 2011, after 165 years in business, Knoedler closed and was later sued by a half-dozen clients who had bought the Rosales works. ... 
In presenting their charges on Tuesday, the authorities outlined the details of an international scheme they said clearly showed Ms. Rosales’s efforts to profit from counterfeiting. 
In all, they say, she sold about 63 works to two prominent art dealers in New York between 1994 and 2008. ...
One of the civil suits claims that between 1996 and 2008, Knoedler earned about $60 million from works that Ms. Rosales provided on consignment or sold outright to the gallery and cleared $40 million in profits. ...
One of the suits, over the authenticity of a $17 million painting attributed to Jackson Pollock, was settled last year in a confidential agreement....
Ms. Rosales was arrested at her home and was presented in Manhattan federal court, the authorities said. She is being held without bail. 
Mandelbrot Set 'do
“The sale of a piece of art for profit is a taxable event and the seller is responsible for paying his or her fair share of tax, even if the art is counterfeit,” Toni Weirauch, a special agent in charge for the Internal Revenue Service said in a statement.

The success of Ms. Rosales, a Mexican immigrant doing the kind of job that Americans just will do, is more proof that Jason Richwine is wrong.

By the way, Ms. Rosales's Spanish boyfriend, Jose Carlos Berganti├▒os Diaz, was sued by painting buyers in the past, over a purported Basquiat painting, which is a good excuse for once again trotting out John Derbyshire's joke about Basquiat's hairstyle.

The portrait of Ms. Rosales above is attributed to Yelena Tylkina from Belarus, seen here in a self-portrait. There's no evidence that Ms. Tylkina is the mysterious forger, but that won't stop me from bandying her name about.

The "Jackson Pollock" shown above was bought from Knoedler for $17 million by Belgian hedge fund guy Pierre Lagrange, who made much of his money investing in Avatar. M. Lagrange had the Pollock appraised for his upcoming divorce settlement from his wife who bore him three children, which is expected to break the late Boris Beresovsky's English record for largest payout. Mr. Lagrange currently resides with Somali-born fashion designer Roubi L' Roubi.
Roubi L' Roubi and Pierre Lagrange:
Roubi is wondering: "How soon until
Gay Divorce is legal?"

It turned out that two of the paints in the "Pollock" hadn't gone through the formality of being invented before the painter's 1956 car crash death. Ms. Rosales never bothered to provide any documentation of the provenance of the 63 paintings she sold. You might think that the forger of the paintings would have gotten around to forging the accompanying paperwork, but that just goes to show you aren't the kind of high-level financial genius like all the people in this posting.


Anonymous said...

Is that "Jackson Pollock" titled America??? I think I see it!

Anonymous said...

Viva Highsmith! Viva Reepley!

Auntie Analogue said...

The bitter thing is that for not paying tax on forgeries Glafira Rosales will go to trial before Major Nidal Jihad Hasan stands - oops! - sits trial for his jihad murder of fourteen Americans.

So while our Army Legal Experts tie themselves into knots over whether, or not, to forcibly shave Jihad Hasan's sharia beard before they would think of bringing him to court martial, this new Preet Bharara Big Cheese Federal Case Prosecutor is making publicity hay on Ms. Rosales's neglecting to pay about a whole Dr. Evil "One. Million. Dollars" tax on her forgery proceeds.

Just thought a little comment on our Dear Rulers' tics when it comes to setting priorities would be in order.

BrokenSymmetry said...

You're right Steve, the real world is in the midst of a conspiracy to provide you with material. I'm not sure if this story is a 3- or 4-fer, I lost count.

Whitey Whiteman III said...

How does this happen?

If questioned, would she just call them racist and start yelling like Rosie Perez?

Big Bill said...

Maybe its just the New York Lawyer in me, but I see some some practice pointers for guys that are contemplating divorce.

To wit:

1. Go get some crappy art made (or commission a kindergartner to make some).

2, Forge some receipts saying that you spent ten million dollars for it as an investment.

3. Name some tony downtown art gallery as the seller on the receipt.

4. Withdraw ten million from your bank account and hide it under your mattress.

5. File for divorce, and report the paintings as marital assets.

6. When you are informed the paintings are worthless during the divorce proceedings, cry out in shock and display.

Charlie W. said...

And the world gets more Tom Wolfe-ian by the day.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

re: Roubi Al Roubie and Pierre Lagrange

Love the smell of HNW inter racial homoeroticism in the morning!

Mr. Anon said...

"Auntie Analogue said...

The bitter thing is that for not paying tax on forgeries Glafira Rosales will go to trial before Major Nidal Jihad Hasan stands - oops! - sits trial for his jihad murder of fourteen Americans."

Hey, this mexican broad cheated a wealthy gay guy by selling him fake art that turned out to be fake, fake art. - that's a much bigger crime.

I myself have no sympathy for anybody who shells out $17 million for a painting they could have made themselves by eating a large ice-cream sundae and vomiting it out on a slate floor.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

From the Telegraph article about Roubie:

Pierre Lagrange, a hedge fund manager worth an estimated £331 million, left his wife Catherine and three children before starting a relationship Roubi L’Roubi, a Mayfair-based haute couture designer whose commissions include creating vestments for clergy at St Paul’s Cathedral."

A Muslim black African gay put to use for making the progressive priests of the most prestigious Church of England institution look more attractive and thereby beautifying the environs therein.
Is he now St Paul's Obama or their Michelangelo?

Anonymous said...

mickey rat

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't give you 17 cents for that painting.

Anonymous said...

Not only is this story fricking hilarious, but that it couldn't happen to better folk.

I hope Ms. Rosales jumps bail and disappears into Mexico. She's wasted in jail.

John said...

Back to Blood had some art forgery in it, didn't it? One of Tom Wolfe's favorite subjects - the art world.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Oh, Roubi... don't take your love to town.