Man Accused of Trying to Sell Fake Basquiats and Harings

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Angel Pereda, a 49-year-old Mexican, was detained in New York and charged with electronic fraud after prosecutors were accused of trying to sell works of art he claimed were created by Jean-Michel Basquiat and US attorney Keith Haring. The Southern District of New York announced on Friday.

Prosecutors said at least once Mr. Pereda created and sent new bogus sources to an agent in New York, alleging that a painting belonged to Basquiat, in hopes that it could be sold for millions of dollars.

Basquiat’s 1982 work “Untitled” Sold for $110.5 million At auction in 2017.

Credit…through the Ministry of Justice

Deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation William F. Sweeney Jr. In his statement, “Mr. Pereda deceived art buyers, hoping his victims wouldn’t see the difference between real art and counterfeiting.”

Mr Pereda did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Mr Pereda’s actions took place in 2020 and 2021.

Persons seeking to sell works of art, including a vase and paintings allegedly created by Keith Haring and belonging to Mr. Pereda, have approached employees at multiple New York auction houses, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

The Keith Haring Foundation helped investigators determine that the artworks were not actually created by Haring, an investigator writing in the complaint. (Haring became famous for his graphic talents and drawings on the subway. death in 1990.)

Investigators also said they discovered that Mr. Pereda had entrusted a painting to a person who would try to sell the work for more than $6 million. The work was called “Glory Boys Kingdom” and Mr. Pereda had misrepresented it as if it had been painted by Basquiat. (Basquiat’s paintings dealt with topics such as colonialism, capitalism, and the legacy of slavery. died in 1988.)

Working at the direction of the FBI, his agent communicated with Mr. Pereda that he needed to prepare new source documents that would convince the potential buyer of the artifact’s authenticity, and Mr. Pereda was compelled, according to the complaint.

Credit…through the Ministry of Justice

“The alleged forgery has little or no value, other than potentially as evidence of the alleged crime,” Audrey Strauss, US attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement.

Prosecutors noted that the FBI’s art crimes team assisted with the investigation and that the investigation is still ongoing.

Susan Beachy contributed to the research.

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