Glafira Rosales Blows The Whistle On New York’s Biggest Art Fraud

A Long Island art dealer who operated a scam selling more than $80m (£50m) worth of fake Abstract Expressionist art, to a number of high profile galleries, has pleaded guilty in an U.S. District Court, in Manhattan. Glafira Rosales, 57 confessed to the sale of 63 counterfeit works of art, sold over a twenty year period.

Rosales of Sands Point NY, pleaded guilty to nine charges including tax fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. She has agreed to adjust her personal tax returns for the period 2006 through 2011 and pay back taxes along with a list of other penalties.  Rosales must also forfeit $33 million from property investments used to launder the funds and pay restitution to the victims of the crime.

Her accomplice was Chinese master forger, 73-year-old Pei-Shen Qian, who returned to his native China and wont be prosecuted in the case. The fakes included top bluechip names like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell.

The highly respected Knoedler Gallery one of the oldest established commercial art galleries in the US has already closed down as a result of the scam. Julian Weissman Fine Art in Manhattan, was also badly hit by the fraud. Rosales will get leniency and act as a state witness in a deal to share information with the prosecutors, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.

Last year a New York millionaire filed a law suit against the now defunct Knoedler & Company. The litigation sighted its former president, Ann Freedman with conspiracy to defraud by hard selling a fake Willem de Kooning painting for $4 million. The suit is the third filed by an art collector in the last two years.

Rosales will be sentenced in March and prosecutors have revealed that more people are expected to be implicated and charged in this case.


The following statement has been included as a request from Ms Ann Freedman’s lawyers :


Ann Freedman’s lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, Jr. of Boies, Schiller & Flexner released a statement:

“The government has informed me repeatedly and recently that Ann Freedman is not, nor has she ever been, a target of its investigation. Ms. Freedman is grateful that she has been fully vindicated by Ms. Rosales’ cooperation with the government”.

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