NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – More arrests are expected in a conspiracy case against a New York art dealer suspected of selling millions of dollars in counterfeit paintings.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hernandez made the disclosure at Monday’s arraignment of Glafira Rosales of Sands Point, on Long Island. Rosales pleaded not guilty to a superseding indictment detailing an alleged scam from 1994 through 2009.
Two Manhattan galleries paid more than $30 million for 63 fake art pieces promoted as previously unknown works by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and others, according to federal officials.
The galleries sold the paintings for more than $80 million, earning nearly $48 million in profits, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say the works were painted in a Woodhaven garage by Chinese immigrant Pei-Shen Qian, who was allegedly paid less than $75,000.
Qian’s neighbors were shocked by the allegations, CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported.
“It is crazy,” Edwin Gardiner said. “I thought they were nice people, then all of a sudden this stuff hit the fan.”
The FBI searched Qian’s home earlier this month. Gardiner said he hasn’t seen his neighbor in weeks.
Hernandez said the case will likely be resolved before trial.
Defense lawyer Steven Kartagener agreed but declined to comment outside court.
Art world insider Marion Maneker told Aiello on Friday it is scandal on an epic scale.
“So many different, very wealthy, very sophisticated people found themselves at each other’s throats,” Maneker said.
“The wealthy art collectors who bought the phony art are suing left and right,” Maneker added. “There is a lot of blame to be put on the person who buys these works of art. You do have to do due diligence.”
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