Art crime

California man found guilty of smuggling ancient Roman mosaic looted from Syria into US

Mohamad Alcharihi faces up to two years in prison and will be sentenced at the end of August

German restitution commission recommends Bavarian bank return Kandinsky painting to heirs of former Jewish owners

Kandinsky’s "A Colorful Life" (1907), which had belonged to collectors Emanuel and Hedwig Lewenstein, was sold in a 1940 Amsterdam auction

Rogues’ gallery? Three reasons why the art market is vulnerable to wrongdoing

Lavish lifestyles, misplaced confidence and the wish to keep up with billionaire clients can all wreak financial havoc

Mediaanalysis

Dynamite Doug podcast is a pioneer in ‘looted heritage’ genre—but not its peak

The programme offers a compelling narrative for art crime beginners but more depth is needed when it comes to colonial repatriation

Palm Beach art dealer sentenced to over two years in prison for blue-chip art fraud scheme

Victims spent “tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars” on counterfeit art sold by the dealer, according to the US Department of Justice

Climate protestors who targeted US National Gallery of Art’s Degas sculpture face prison time

The two protesters have have been indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of conspiracy

Artist who falsely claimed Native American heritage sentenced to 18 months’ probation

The Seattle-based artist had pleaded guilty to violating the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act

How a lawsuit over a jointly owned Anna Weyant painting is making opaque art market structures more transparent

Governments are increasingly aware of the risks involved with using shell companies and other complex dealings to trade art

Five men from Berlin crime family sentenced for £100m Dresden jewel heist

Two of the men on trial were previously found guilty of stealing a giant gold coin from Berlin’s Bode Museum in 2017

New York adviser Lisa Schiff reportedly shuts business amid clients’ $2m lawsuit

The outspoken adviser appears to have closed her Tribeca gallery and is unreachable amid accusations that she defrauded collectors of profits from the sale of an Adrian Ghenie painting

Former OpenSea employee found guilty in first-ever NFT insider trading trial

Former OpenSea product manager Nathanie Chastain has been convicted of wire fraud and money laundering in a landmark case

New York collector sues his lawyer for allegedly stealing Warhol canvas

The collector, Stuart Pivar, claims he sold the 1977 portrait of himself to his lawyer for $100,000 because he needed cash quickly; he is now suing that lawyer for $10m

Bored Ape Yacht Club creators score legal victory in lawsuit against artists who made copycat NFT collection

Yuga Labs has won a partial victory in its legal dispute with artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen; the decision could impact future copyright copyright rules in Web3

A fugitive art dealer convicted of selling counterfeit art 14 years ago has been extradited to the US

Angela Catherine Hamblin, who has been hiding out in a small village in Scotland for over a decade, is being extradited to the US

First-ever insider trading trial over NFTs set to begin in Manhattan court

A former OpenSea employee has been accused of insider trading; the outcome of the case may change the meaning of that phrase forever

Brazil’s Red List gives green light to federal action on heritage smuggling

President Lula’s government has joined forces with Icom in an effort to halt illegal trafficking of the country’s ancient artefacts

Art and diamond dealer accused of funding Hezbollah is charged with evading US sanctions

Nazem Ahmad, a Lebanese businessman who deals in art and diamonds, has allegedly been involved in moving goods worth more than $440m into and out of the US since sanctions were imposed in late 2019

Former Art Institute of Chicago employee pleads guilty to embezzling $2m from the museum

Michael Maurello may face up to 20 years in prison for his financial misdeeds at the museum

Former museum aide sentenced for stealing Indigenous artefacts, including a grizzly bear necklace

Preston Jay Spotted Eagle has been sentenced to five years probation on charges of stealing government property from his former employer, the Museum of the Plains Indian on the Blackfoot reservation in Montana

Auctioneer admits he helped create fake Basquiats seized by FBI in museum raid

Michael Barzman, who formerly ran an auction company that bought and resold the contents of storage lockers, said in plea agreement that he and another man made and sold 20 to 30 fake Basquiats

FBI launches app to help identify stolen art

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has made its Nation Stolen Art File, most commonly used by law enforcement, available on mobile to the public

Report identifies art market as a target for organised crime

Internal crime agency urges vigilance, and greater efforts on monitoring and enforcement, but industry figures say study lacks focus and hard evidence of key vulnerabilities.

Man fingered in Philadelphia theft of thumb from terracotta warrior will plead guilty

A man whose drunken antics at a 2017 ugly sweater party at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia got him in hot water with the FBI, is expected to take a plea bargain in order to avoid jail time

Hong Kong heiress sues gallery over alleged £500,000 Banksy fraud

Karen Lo says the dealer Pearl Lam never followed through with her purchase of a well-known painting by the secretive British artist

Mysterious Jackson Pollock painting—with hidden message to Lauren Bacall—found in Bulgaria

The painting, which reportedly features a birthday message to the American actress on its back, was seized during a smuggling raid, officials say

More than 1,000 objects in the Met’s collection linked to alleged traffickers and looters, investigation finds

A new report claims New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has many items in its collection with major provenance issues

Inside the 'biggest art fraud in history': what the alleged mass forgery tells us about the market for First Nations art in Canada

Plus worryingly low artists’ pay in the UK and an Ugly Duchess

Hosted by Ben Luke. With guest speaker Benjamin Sutton. Produced by David Clack and Aimee Dawson
Sponsored byChristie's

Miami art dealer sentenced to more than four years in prison for smuggling ivory sculptures

Eduardo Ulises Martinez was convicted of illegally transporting ivory and obstruction of justice

Canadian police uncover 'biggest art fraud in world history'

Eight suspects are arrested and more than 1,000 works seized following investigation into forgeries of paintings by the Ojibwe artist Norval Morrisseau

Palm Beach art dealer pleads guilty to selling counterfeit blue-chip art

Daniel Elie Bouaziz was accused of selling fake works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat