CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been arrested on a federal fraud charge for allegedly scheming to sell expensive artwork stolen from a storage facility in a north suburb of Chicago.
From February 2020 to earlier this month, JOHN GARCIA engaged in a scheme to sell various items, including paintings, sculptures, and rugs, which were stolen from a storage facility in Deerfield, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Garcia, also known as “John Adams,” “John Adamino,” and “Michael Chapman,” 53, of Schererville, Ind., is charged with one count of wire fraud. He was arrested Aug. 7, 2020, and remains in federal custody. A detention hearing is set for Aug. 13, 2020, at 10:30 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah.
The complaint and arrest were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Guzman.
According to the complaint, the victim who owned the artwork noticed that approximately 159 items were missing from the storage facility and reported it to the FBI in May. An FBI investigation revealed that Garcia had schemed with another individual to steal the items and then broker their sale to dealers in art, antiques, and collectibles, in exchange for thousands of dollars, the complaint states. Garcia and the other individual allegedly represented to the buyers that they owned the items.
The FBI has recovered many of the stolen items, the complaint states. Some of the stolen items were discovered after court-authorized searches of a residence in Highland Park and a storage facility leased by Garcia in Orland Park.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.