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Art Dealer Charged with Selling Fakes

With all these blog posts regarding corrupt art dealers, the art world is looking somewhat sordid this week… Here’s the latest from Chicago.

Alan Kass, president of Kass-Meridian Gallery dba Allegro Art, in downtown Chicago, has just been charged with 13 counts of mail and wire fraud by a grand jury. For nearly 2 decades, Kass and his partners are alleged to have knowingly acquired and sold counterfeit works of well-known artists.

According to the federal indictment, Kass and his partners gave the works fake signatures, numberings, and other indicia, and provided customers with fake certificates of authenticity. They allegedly distributed these forged works through national and international networks. Nine others have previously been charged in this scheme.

“The art world has always struck me in how elegant yet crooked it could be,” said former FBI agent Robert Spiel, who specialized in art theft. “I am not saying 90 percent of everybody involved is selling fakes. But there can be big fancy galleries who are doing it.”

Read more at the Chicago Tribune and the Courthouse News Service