Breaking news in the art world follows an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice involving indictments against seven defendants in their alleged roles in selling $5 million in counterfeit art prints.
Reuters reports that (“Thousands Stuck with Fake Art Prints – U.S. Prosecutor“) that “[a] ring of art counterfeiters has sold thousands of prints since 1999 bearing the forged signatures of Picasso, Miro, Dali and other famous artists to buyers around the world”. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald stating that “[t]housands of people will learn they… bought a fake”.
The indictments included multiple counts of fraud and were filed against two Americans, a Spaniard from Barcelona, and two Italians from Milan and Monsummano, with U.S. authorities seeking to extradite the Europeans.
Fitzgerald said that counterfeit prints were sold for up to $50,000 and had forged artists’ signatures and fake certificates of authenticity. These were sold in galleries, at art shows and on eBay.
Buyers of such pieces should consult the website: usdoj.gov/usao/iln
Here is a copy of the Press Release from the Department of Justice (PDF Format): Art Fraud Department of Justice Press Release
Though not a story about original prop collecting, it does illustrate that the government will act on fraud in the art and memorabilia collecting world.
Jason De Bord