Douglas Chrismas arrested for allegedly embezzling over $260,000 from Ace Gallery’s bankruptcy estate

Chrismas, who founded the Los Angeles gallery in 1967, is accused of embezzling the funds while acting as the estate’s trustee and custodian

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Douglas Christmas Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP

Douglas Christmas Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision/AP

The Los Angeles art dealer Douglas Chrismas has been arrested on federal charges which allege he embezzled over $260,000 from the bankruptcy estate of Ace Gallery, which he founded in 1967. He was fired from the gallery in 2016 following a host of allegedly fraudulent money transfers and complaints by artists that he may have stolen or hidden works of art during the gallery’s 2013 Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

In March, a federal grand jury charged Chrismas with three counts of embezzlement—the indictment was unsealed on 27 July, the day he was arrested.

According to a Justice Department press release, Chrismas allegedly embezzled over $264,000 around March and April 2016, “including a $50,000 check that Chrismas signed, was drawn against the estate and was paid to a separate corporation that Chrismas owned and controlled.”

Other charges allege Chrismas pocketed $100,000, intended for the gallery as payment for works of art, which he diverted to his separate corporation, and nearly $115,000, also meant as payment for work,s which he used to pay a creditor of his separate corporation.

Chrismas has pled not guilty and been released on a $50,000 bond until his trial on 21 September.

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