US Postal Inspectors busted an international art fraud ring that cost 1,000 victims more than $10 million.
"We would attend some of the art shows and we would engage the dealers selling the counterfeit art," said postal inspector Tom Brady. "Some of them were from Internet auction sites, some were from galleries, some from art shows, and some even purchased the art on cruise ships."
Counterfeit work by world-renowned artists, such as Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso were allegedly for sale. Some victims paid up to $50,000 for one painting.
"When they went to try to resell them they were finding that these were counterfeit and these pieces were not what they thought we were," Brady said.
After multiple consumer complaints, gallery and art experts helped postal inspectors track down the bogus art.
"This turned out to be one of the largest art fraud investigations we've ever conducted. We seized over 25,000 counterfeit prints," Brady said.
It's important to do your research. Ask the seller for a "certificate of authenticity" and where the print came from.
One of the suspects in the case was sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in case.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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