NY fraud victim gets 18 artworks, worth $33M

NEW YORK (AP) — Eighteen contemporary artworks have been transferred to a hedge fund victimized in a massive $400 million fraud scheme, the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office said Monday.

The works by such boldface artists as Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and Damien Hirst had belonged to Marc Dreier, a once-prominent Manhattan lawyer whom prosecutors called “the Houdini of impersonation and false documents.”

Dreier is serving 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and other charges in 2009. The scheme involved the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in fake promissory notes to hedge funds.

U.S. marshals turned over the works, valued at some $33 million, to New York-based Heathfield Capital Limited.

Some of the transferred works include Hirst’s “Elaidic Anhydride (hot pinks spot painting)”; Rothko’s “Untitled” and Warhol’s “Jackie.”

In July, federal Judge Jed Rakoff upheld Heathfield’s right to the artworks that Dreier had pledged as security to finalize a deal, calling the fund the “last and largest victims of Dreier’s fraud.”

Heathfield previously transferred $1.65 million in forfeited funds to the government, which will be made available to other victims of the scheme, prosecutors said.

Authorities say Dreier received $670 million between 2004 and 2008 from the sale of fictitious securities, spending much of it on a lavish lifestyle that included millions of dollars worth of art, beachfront homes on both coasts and a yacht.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s