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The Wall Street Journal
August 19, 2013 4:53 PM
Resolution Near for Alleged Dealer of Fake Artwork
Glafira Rosales is Accused of Conspiring to Sell More Than 60 Phony Artworks, Including Purported Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning Works.
Glafira Rosales with her defense attorney Monday. Photo: Elizabeth Williams
By CHAD BRAY
A New York art dealer who was known as a source of undiscovered masterpieces by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and other modern artists is close to resolving criminal charges related to her alleged sale of fake artwork and her failure to pay taxes on those works, prosecutors said Monday.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have alleged that Glafira Rosales and her boyfriend conspired to sell more than 60 fake pieces of art, claiming they were works created by abstract expressionist greats when they were actually painted by a Queens man. The boyfriend, a Spanish citizen, and the painter weren’t named in court documents and haven’t been charged in the case.
The artists allegedly included Mr. Pollock, Mr. de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Sam Francis and Franz Kline, prosecutors said.
At a hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hernandez said that the parties were close to reaching a “disposition” in the case, indicating they were close to resolving the allegations, which could include a guilty plea by Ms. Rosales.
Steven Kartagener, a lawyer for Ms. Rosales, declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.
“I would call them decorative, rather than fake,” U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla joked of the paintings at one point during the hearing.
Mr. Hernandez also said at the hearing that more arrests were possible in the case.
At Monday’s hearing, Ms. Rosales pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment, including charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns. The wire fraud and money-laundering charges each carry up to 20 years in prison.
Ms. Rosales, a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., was originally charged in May and detained until earlier this month when she was released on bail.
Prosecutors alleged that Ms. Rosales and her boyfriend sold dozens of counterfeit works of art from the early 1990s through 2009 created by the Queens painter, pocketing millions of dollars. The painter was paid several thousand dollars for each fake work, prosecutors said.
The painter and the boyfriend allegedly met each other on a Manhattan street, where the artist was selling his paintings, prosecutors said in court documents.
The boyfriend allegedly used a variety of processes to make the artwork appear older than it was, including heating, cooling and exposing it to the elements, prosecutors said.
Ms. Rosales and her boyfriend allegedly claimed paintings were from a Swiss client who wished to remain anonymous or a purported Spanish collector who had received the works from a Spanish gallery, prosecutors said.
Two Manhattan galleries allegedly paid more than $33 million combined for the counterfeit art, prosecutors said.
Ms. Rosales, 57 years old, was at the center of several lawsuits against the Knoedler Gallery, a historic Upper East Side art gallery that closed in 2011 amid charges that it had sold forged works.
Prosecutors also alleged that Ms. Rosales failed to report at least $12.5 million in income to U.S. tax authorities between 2006 and 2008 for some of the art sales and kept the funds from those sales hidden in an overseas bank account in Spain.
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