Indictment Charges Madison Business Owner with Alleged Fraudulent Art Sales

August 9, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 8, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven returned a 12-count indictment today charging David Crespo, 58, of Guilford with mail fraud and wire fraud offenses stemming from his alleged sale of fraudulent artwork.

The indictment alleges that, from approximately 2005 to February 2011, Crespo, an art dealer who conducted business under the name Brandon Gallery in Madison, defrauded his customers by representing that artwork he sold were original pieces by Pablo Picasso and original signed lithographs by Marc Chagall. Crespo also created documents that falsely supported the provenance of the artwork, which he then provided to customers.

The indictment charges Crespo with nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count.

Crespo has been released on a $50,000 bond since his arrest on April 3, 2012.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony E. Kaplan.”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Connecticut art gallery owner arrested on federal charges alleging fraud

April 4, 2012

PostCrescent.com on April 3, 2012 released the following:

By John Christoffersen, Associated Press

“BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTW) — An art dealer was arrested on fraud charges Tuesday, more than a year after his Madison gallery was raided by the FBI.

David Crespo, who has been accused previously of dishonest dealings in the art world, appeared in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on mail and wire fraud charges. He was released on $50,000 bond.

Crespo owned Brandon Gallery, which was raided in November 2010 by FBI agents who seized several pieces of artwork. At the time Crespo denied that he was the target of a federal probe and said he was assisting a larger investigation into art fraud.

Crespo’s attorney and his wife declined to comment at Tuesday’s hearing.

Philip Coffaro, a Long Island art gallery owner who once did business with Crespo, said he was interviewed by FBI agents who showed him fraudulent certificates that Crespo had apparently used to overstate the value of signed Marc Chagall prints. Crespo would buy items from him for around $200 and mark them up as much as $10,000 for sale as far afield as Korea, Coffaro said.

“The certificates were disgusting,” Coffaro said.

Coffaro had a falling-out with Crespo in 2008 when he accused his former associate of selling off a piece of art that did not belong to him.

A lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York alleged that Coffaro loaned Crespo a Salvador Dali painting, “Folle Folle Folle Minerva.” Coffaro said Crespo later refused his demands to return it, giving it instead to another man to pay off a debt.

Coffaro spent $40,000 to reclaim the painting and sold it for about $220,000, but Crespo continued to claim ownership of the painting, according to a complaint.

A judge ruled in 2010 that Coffaro is the rightful owner. That ruling is under appeal.

“David is his own worst enemy,” said Coffaro, who owns Gallery 25 in Mineola, N.Y. “He took advantage of the system. He took advantage of people. He’s very smooth.”

The next court hearing for Crespo was scheduled for July 13.”

18 U.S.C. § 1341 – Mail Fraud

18 U.S.C. § 1343 – Wire Fraud

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.