Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Art Fraud



       A New York City man who was victimized in an art fraud but then committed his own forgery has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.

     Richard Silver paid $84,000 in restitution before his sentencing Tuesday in Manhattan.

     The 44-year-old real estate broker, photographer and part-time art dealer pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor forgery and false-filing charges.

     Silver unwittingly bought what turned out to be fake prints by British artist Damien Hirst. The Irvine, Calif.-based seller went to prison for the scam.

     Silver admitted he then falsified appraisals as he resold the pieces. Defense lawyer Vinoo Varghese says Silver altered legitimate appraisals for some prints to match other works so he could ship them quickly.

     Silver also admitted he didn't report the sale profits on state taxes.

NOTE:  Odd story, this.  I always thought it would be Damien Hirst who would be sent to jail for art fraud. (Apologies to my friend with the very small Damien Hirst spot painting, which I like and which once again proves that brevity is the soul of wit and exceptions often prove rules.)


  1. Odd, yet interesting, from a psychological point of view. Have you ever heard the term "generational trauma"? Adults often inflict the same kind of pain on their children (and others) that was inflicted upon them by their parents. A tragic theory, and a bit out of context here. But I get why Silver might have done it. Must have taken forever to do the colors. Great job!

  2. Thank you both. I am familiar with the concept of "generational trauma," and believe I've experienced a bit of it in my own life. I've also experienced and witnessed the opposite, i.e., people who suffered abuse and would never, ever inflict it on others. Serious, prosecutable larceny mystifies me, actually. When I was a prosecutor inn Brooklyn, for the first time in my life I met thieves, robbers, murderers and arsonists. Robbery and murder, although loathesome, were generally pretty easy to understand. Larceny is laced with deception and really runs against the grain of law and ethics. Arson is completely off the map because it's generally leads to unpredictable, horrible consequences. As for Damien Hirst, my one sentence reaction (I can supplement on request) is that his work is heartless, which is the opposite of what I look for in an artist. I do like colors and circles, though. Curtis