Father and Son Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Alleged Theft of Military Equipment

August 14, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 14, 2014 released the following:

“OCALA, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return by a grand jury of a three-count indictment charging Pedro Luis Infantes (47) and his son, Luis Rafael Infantes (21), both of Ocala, with the theft of government property, interstate transportation of stolen property and making a false statement to a federal agency. If convicted on all counts, Pedro Luis Infantes faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison. His son faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. The indictment was returned on August 13, 2014.

According to the indictment and other court documents, on July 11, 2014, Pedro Luis Infantes unwittingly met with a confidential source who was working in cooperation with law enforcement. Pedro Luis Infantes believed that the source had connections to potential buyers affiliated with Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Ultimately, Pedro Luis Infantes negotiated a sale price of $153,500 for 17 military-grade, thermal-imaging monoculars, rifle cleaning kits, and other assorted military equipment that had been stolen from the government. When arrested and interviewed by the FBI agents, Pedro Luis Infantes provided false statements to the agents about how he had acquired the military items and how the serial numbers on the items had been removed.

Luis Rafael Infantes is an active-duty supply sergeant for the United States Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He admitted to military investigators that he had illegally taken the thermal imaging equipment and other items from his base’s inventory and then given them to his father to sell. Luis Rafael Infantes said that he had stolen the items because he had fallen into financial trouble and needed the money.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case is investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.”

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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

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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.


FBI: “Former Studio Assistant to Jasper Johns Charged in Manhattan Federal Court in $6.5 Million Scheme to Sell Stolen Johns Works”

August 16, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 15, 2013 released the following:

“Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), today announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging James Meyer, a former assistant to artist Jasper Johns, with selling 22 works that he stole from Johns’ studio in Sharon, Connecticut. Meyer was arrested yesterday morning at his home in Salisbury, Connecticut, and appeared in federal court in Hartford that afternoon.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, James Meyer is the latest in a long line of thieves who sought to make millions through a fraud on the art world. Meyer, a former assistant to artist Jasper Johns, allegedly stole and resold a number of pieces he was charged with maintaining. His arrest underscores our commitment to exposing deception in this lucrative industry and holding fraudsters to account.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “As alleged, James Meyer exploited his position of trust to steal repeatedly from his long-time employer. That his employer is a renowned American artist only made the crime more lucrative. To convert the artworks to cash, Meyer allegedly engaged in a serial scheme to deceive the buyers of the art and the gallery through which they bought it.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court:

Meyer was a studio assistant for Johns for over 25 years and was responsible for, among other things, maintaining a studio file drawer containing pieces of art that were not yet completed by Johns and not authorized by Johns to be placed in the art market.

Between September 2006 and February 2012, Meyer removed 22 individual pieces of art from the studio file drawer he was responsible for maintaining, and from elsewhere in Johns’ studio, and transported those pieces from the studio in Sharon to an art gallery located in Manhattan for the purpose of selling those works without the knowledge or permission of Johns. Meyer represented both to the owner of the gallery (the “gallery owner”) and to potential purchasers that these pieces had been given to him as gifts by Johns when, in fact, that was not true.

As part of his scheme to defraud, Meyer provided sworn, notarized certifications both to the gallery owner and to buyers stating that each piece was an authentic Johns work, that the art had been given to him directly by Johns, that he was the rightful owner of the piece, and that he had the right to sell that particular work. In addition, Meyer conditioned the sale of each of these works on the signed agreement by the purchaser that the art would be kept private for at least eight years, during which time the piece would not be loaned, exhibited, or re-sold.

Meyer also created fictitious inventory numbers for these pieces to give the impression that they were finished works that were authorized by Johns to be sold in the art market. Additionally, and to facilitate certain sales, Meyer created fake pages that he thereafter inserted into a ledger book of registered pieces of art maintained at Johns’ studio, and which he subsequently photographed, to give additional assurances to prospective buyers about the provenance, or history of ownership, of a particular piece.

During the course of his almost six-year scheme, the gallery owner sold 22 works of art on Meyer’s behalf for a total of approximately $6.5 million, of which $3.4 million was remitted directly to Meyer in sales proceeds.

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Meyer, 51, of Salisbury, Connecticut, is charged with one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein is assigned to the case.

Mr. Bharara praised the FBI for its outstanding work in the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher D. Frey is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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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

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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.


Matthew Taylor Indicted by a Los Angeles Federal Grand Jury on Charges Related to Alleged Art Theft

September 16, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 15, 2011 released the following:

“Florida Man Arrested on Charges of Selling Stolen Art and Selling Forged Paintings for Millions of Dollars

LOS ANGELES—A Florida man was arrested this morning pursuant to a federal indictment that alleges he sold paintings stolen from a Los Angeles art gallery, and that he had sold forged artworks to a collector with false claims that they had been painted by esteemed artists.

Matthew Taylor, 43, of Vero Beach, Florida, was arrested without incident this morning by special agents with the FBI. Taylor, who formerly worked as an art dealer, is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Taylor last week on seven felony charges related to art theft and a long-running fraud that targeted a Los Angeles art collector.

The indictment charges Taylor with defrauding the art collector victim out of millions of dollars by selling him forged art works. Taylor allegedly sold the collector more than 100 paintings—including paintings that he falsely claimed were by artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko—for a total of more than $2 million. The indictment alleges that Taylor altered paintings from unknown artists to make them appear to be the products of famous artists, and then sold the bogus artwork to the victim at prices exponentially higher than their actual worth.

To conceal the true nature of the paintings, Taylor allegedly put forged on the paintings and painted over or otherwise concealed signatures from the actual artists. The indictment also alleges that Taylor created and put onto the paintings fake labels which falsely represented that the artworks were once part of prestigious art collections at famous museums, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in the New York and the Guggenheim Museum.

Regarding the alleged art heists, the indictment accuses Taylor of stealing a Granville Redmond painting called “Seascape at Twilight” from a gallery in Los Angeles. Taylor later sold that painting to a different gallery for $85,000, falsely claiming that his mother had owned it for several years. The indictment also alleges that Taylor stole a separate artwork—a painting by Lucien Frank titled “Park Scene, Paris”—from the same gallery in Los Angeles. Taylor was seen several years later in possession of the stolen Lucien Frank painting at a gallery in Vero Beach.

The indictment further alleges that Taylor laundered and transferred across state lines some of the proceeds from his fraud on the collector victim—specifically, $105,000 that Taylor had taken from the victim by selling him four forged paintings in September 2006.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

The indictment charges Taylor with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of possession of stolen property. The mail fraud charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, and the remaining counts each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years. Therefore, if he is convicted of all seven counts in the indictment, Taylor faces a maximum possible sentence of 100 years in federal prison.”

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 McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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