Celebrities hit by NY fractional art fraud
A New York art dealer has pleaded guilty to a $120 million fractional art fraud which hoodwinked Wall Street bankers, art world insiders and celebrities, including tennis legend John McEnroe.
Lawrence B. Salander, 60, pleaded guilty in court to selling paintings he did not own, and selling fractional ownership in others where the sum of the parts did not equal the whole.
“I am deeply ashamed and sorry for my actions,” dealer, Salander, 60, said, admitting that McEnroe, hedge fund manager Roy Lennox, painter Stuart Davis’s son were among his victims.
Salander ran a gallery in New York's Upper East Side townhouse selling fine art, as well as celebrity art by Robert De Niro's father.
But Salander-O’Reilly Galleries has declared bankruptcy amid dozens of lawsuits, with creditors filing claims totalling more than $300 million, according to Bloomberg news.
As part of the plea deal, Salander read an eight-page statement in court, admitting to 29 charges of grand larceny and scheming to defraud investors. McEnroe was said to have lost $2 million in the ruse, while De Niro’s losses topped more than $1 million.
Salander faces up to 18 years in prison.