ngel Pereda, 49, of Mexico, was taken into custody in New York and charged with wire fraud after prosecutors accused him of trying to sell artworks which he falsely claimed had to be sold to the United States. The state was created by attorneys Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. The Southern District of New York made the announcement Friday.
Prosecutors said that on at least one occasion, Pereda created and sent new fake sources to an intermediary in New York, claiming to be a painting of Basquiat, in the hope that it could be sold for millions of dollars. .
Basquiat’s 1982 work “Untitled” sold for $110.5 million At auction in 2017
Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement, “Mr. Pereda deceived art buyers, hoping that his victims would not see the difference between real art and counterfeiting.
Mr Pereda did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Mr Pereda’s action took place sometime in 2020 and 2021.
According to a criminal complaint that was closed Friday, employees of several auction houses in New York were contacted by people seeking to sell artworks—including a vase and painting—allegedly created by Keith Haring. Gai and was owned by Mr Pereda.
The Keith Haring Foundation helped investigators determine that the artifacts were not actually created by Haring, one investigator wrote in the complaint. (Haring rocketed to fame with his graphic talents and drawings of Metro) died in 1990.)
Investigators also said they found that Mr Pereda had sent a painting to a man who was going to attempt to sell the work for more than $6 million. The work was titled “Glory Boys Kingdom”, and Mr Pereda falsely represented that it was painted by Basquiat. (Basquiat’s paintings deal with issues such as colonialism, capitalism and the legacy of slavery. He Died in 1988.)
Acting on the instructions of the FBI, the arbitrator spoke with Mr Pereda about the need to draft new original documents that would assure the potential buyer of the authenticity of the work, and Pereda obliged, according to the complaint.
Audrey Strauss, a US attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement that “other than evidence of the alleged crime, the alleged counterfeit is of little or no value.”
Prosecutors said the FBI’s state-of-the-art crime team had assisted with the investigation, and said it was still ongoing.
Susan Beachy contributed to the research.