(NEW YORK) — A Long Island art dealer will be in federal court Friday for allegedly selling tens of millions of dollars in counterfeit paintings to two of New York City’s top galleries.
A 19-page indictment claims Glarifa Rosales made $33 million dollars selling forgeries that she claimed were by 20th century artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. According to the indictment, Rosales sold 63 fakes from 1994 to 2009.
Former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett says forgery is easy because the art business is unregulated.
“My guess is she made the price attractive,” Garrett said. “There’s one quote where she sold the painting to the art dealer for around a little under a million dollars. And then they turned around and sold it for $12 million dollars. So there’s some greed going on here.”
“The ability for someone to pass a forgery is actually not that difficult if in fact you have an excellent forgery, which apparently, she had a number of them,” Garret added.
However, the former FBI agent did express some surprise that the scam lasted as long as it did without someone checking to authenticate the paintings.
“One would think if you produced, for example, a new painting by Jackson Pollock that you would go to a Jackson Pollock expert and say ‘look a woman has now arrived with the following painting — have you ever seen this before?’”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jordan Fischer, Scott Wegener, WCPO
AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN