Hillel “Helly” Nahmad, scion of the Nahmad art dealing family, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison over the gambling charges to which he pled guilty last November.
The New York court carrying out the sentencing further mandated three years probation, 300 hours of community service, drug testing, and a $30,000 fine upon his release, The Art Newspaper reported. Nahmad has also forfeited $6.4 million in illicit earnings and Raoul Dufy’s “Carnaval à Nice” (1937), originally acquired from Sotheby’s in 2007 for $154,294.
Nahmad’s case attracted a great deal of interest in the press due to the high-profile gambling ring he admitted to operating while running his family’s gallery in the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. The gallery has since lost its lease at the Carlyle and sales have fallen more than 75 percent, the 35-year-old’s attorneys claimed in court.
A recent appeal for leniency in his sentencing included plans for community service and charitable donations to programs bringing disadvantaged children to museums and galleries, DNAinfo reported.
“I do not have a great education in other subjects, but I really do know a lot about art and I think I could really reach young people in a good way and hopefully introduce them to a world they might not otherwise visit,” Nahmad wrote in a personal letter accompanying his lawyers’ plea. He had previously testified that he picked up gambling as a child from his father, the billionaire dealer David Nahmad.
The failed bid to avoid a prison sentence included letters to the court from a number of art-market eminences attesting to Helly’s character, the New York Times reported. Marc Glimcher of Pace Gallery wrote that Nahmad “is very simply the most honest and trustworthy person we have the privilege to work with.”