Federal prosecutors charge 3 men in multi-million dollar art scam

art scam nyc
Federal prosecutors bused a $33 million scam that defrauded art buyers who thought they were purchasing works by artists such as Jackson Pollock.
Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Federal prosecutors in New York charged three men in connection with a $33 million fine art scam that spanned more than two decades.

Authorities said that Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, 65, and Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, 58, were arrested in Spain last week and face extradition back to the United States. Investigators said they believe the third man — Pei Shen Qian, 75 — left the country and might be in China.

Jose Carlos, a Sands Point, New York resident, supposedly met Qian on a Manhattan street corner in 1994, at which time Qian was selling paintings on the street. At the behest of both brothers and a third associate, Qian began to create fake artwork in exchange for payments.

Qian would then produce works similar to acclaimed expressionist artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, which would be paired with fake owner histories by the two brothers before selling them to individuals and galleries around the world.

The trio, along with art dealer Glafira Rosales, are thought to have sold $33 million in fake art. Rosales, 57, pleaded guilty to the illegal operation in September.

“Today’s charges paint a picture of perpetual lies and greed,” wrote Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement late Monday. “With today’s indictment, the defendants must now answer for their alleged roles as modern masters of forgery and deceit.”

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.