Art dealer's cooperation earns leniency in 15-year fraud

AP News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2017 7:45 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York art dealer who scammed the art world for 15 years with fake paintings in the name of famous artists will not go back to prison for the $80 million fraud, a judge said Tuesday, crediting her for cooperating with the government.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla told Glafira Rosales, who spend three months in prison after her 2013 arrest, that her cooperation and her solid relationship with her daughter helped earn her freedom, though she required Rosales to spend nine months in home detention.

Rosales, 60, of Sands Point, New York, pleaded guilty in September 2013 to conspiracy, money laundering and tax charges. The charges could have resulted in a sentence of more than 12 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the fraud from 1994 through 2009 duped art enthusiasts into buying counterfeits imitating famous artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. The fake art was created by an artist who had studied at a New York art school and sold paintings on the streets of Manhattan in the 1980s.

Rosales sold more than 60 never-before-exhibited and previously unknown works of art by some of the most famous artists of the 20th Century to two prominent Manhattan art galleries for $33.2 million, the government said. Prosecutors said the galleries then sold the art to customers for over $80 million.

She cried as she apologized before her sentence was announced.

"I wake up every day shamed of the crime that I have committed," she said. "I am truly, truly sorry for what I have done."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Egan said Rosales' cooperation enabled the government to learn exactly how the fraud was carried out, including how the paintings were created.

"She was in many respects the face of that fraud," he said.

Egan said extradition efforts had failed to return two suspects in Spain and one in China.

Defense attorney Bryan Skarlatos said Rosales' former boyfriend abused her and forced her to participate in the fraud, saying she would lose her daughter if she were arrested. Authorities say he fled to Spain.

Skarlatos said his client had lost her home and all personal property and was working at a restaurant and renting a room from a friend.

The judge said some of the court papers in the case remained under seal because they involved death threats.