Art world giant Mary Boone, a dealer who first launched onto the art scene in the 1980s, has pleaded guilty to filing false federal tax forms today, September 5. Boone faces up to six years in prison.
Prosecutors said Boone’s galleries should have paid more than $1.2 million on $3.7 million profit for 2011 but instead claimed a tax liability of just $335. She also used business funds to pay for more than $1.6 million in personal expenses, including $800,000 to renovate one apartment and $120,000 rent on a second residence, and then claimed the payments as a business expense, Berman said.
Boone pled guilty to two counts of filing a false federal income tax return, both carrying a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She will pay over $3 million for unpaid taxes she owes for 2009, 2010, and 2011. Her sentencing is scheduled for January 18.
In a statement issued by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office, US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:
Mary Boone, a Manhattan art gallery owner, admitted to cheating the U.S. tax system by blatantly lying about her expenses and playing a shell game with bank accounts to hide her true assets. While tax evasion may seem like a victimless crime, it isn’t; all Americans must pay their taxes. And as Boone has learned, tax laws are not abstract.
The District Attorney’s Office says the gallerist reported a business loss of about $52,000 in 2012, when in reality accrued a profit of approximately $3.7 million. They also report that Boone used over $1.6 million of company funds to cover personal expenses, including a home renovation.
The gallerist, who exhibited the works of artists including Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat, was once heralded as “The New Queen of the Art Scene,” by New York Magazine. The Mary Boone Gallery, founded in 1977, currently hosts two locations, one in Chelsea and another on Fifth Avenue.
In 2016, Boone accused Alec Baldwin of evading $16,625 in taxes, after he filed accusations claiming she sold him a copy, rather than the original, of a Ross Bleckner painting “Sea and Mirror,” in 2010.