Glafira Rosales, the Long Island art dealer who has long been under investigation for allegedly selling counterfeit artworks by major 20th century figures, was arrested today and charged with tax fraud connected with $12.5 million of income secreted in Spanish accounts. The announcement, which came from Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and agents from the IRS and the FBI, was accompanied by a comprehensive criminal complain which suggests that the scale of her alleged crimes was much higher than had previously been reported.
According to the criminal complaint in United States v. Glafira Rosales, approved by Assistant Attorneys General Daniel Levy and Jason Hernandez, Rosales sold a total of 63 works of art to two Manhattan galleries identified only as Gallery 1 and Gallery 2. Gallery 1, which contextual information in the complaint suggests is the since-shuttered Knoedler & Company, bought the lion’s share of the paintings, allegedly purchasing 40 works — twice the amount previously reported in Vanity Fair. Litigation provoked by Knoedler’s sales of Rosales’s paintings allegedly precipitated the storied gallery’s closing in 2011.
Gallery 2 is identified as having been founded “in or about 1997 by a person who had previously been associated with Gallery 1,” and had engaged in 23 additional sales of Rosales’s works. Her wide-ranging fraud, which the complaint alleges dates back to the 1990s, centered around “never before exhibited and previously unknown painters” that Rosales claimed to be selling either on behalf of various anonymous sellers or a Spanish collector. The works included pieces purportedly by Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among many others.
Proving that there is never a situation too grave for a good art-crime pun, U.S. Attorney Bharara’s release adds that Ms. Rosales “gave new meaning to the phrase ‘artful dodger.’”
In each of the three false tax return charges, Rosales faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. In each of the five charges surrounding her failure to disclose her Spanish accounts, she faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
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