Seller Of Forged Basquiats And Harings Arrested On Fraud Charges | USAO-SDNY

Audrey Strauss, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest of ANGEL PEREDA for his role in a scheme to sell forged artworks purportedly created by renowned artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.  PEREDA was arrested in New York on July 9, 2021.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Angel Pereda attempted to sell forgeries of artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, among others, as genuine.  If real, such works would be worth millions.  The alleged fakes have little or no value, except potentially as evidence of the alleged crime.  Angel Pereda now faces the prospect of a jury’s appraisal of his alleged conduct.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As we allege, Mr. Pereda conned art buyers, hoping his victims wouldn’t see the difference between real art and a forgery. He used their trust to his advantage by passing off worthless pieces as priceless works of art. Hopefully, this case provides a lesson to any others hoping to engage in similar behavior – the FBI’s Art Crime Team has the resources to distinguish the real from the fake, and its members will ensure you face the consequences of your actions.”

According to the allegations contained in the complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

In or about 2020 and 2021, ANGEL PEREDA engaged in a scheme to sell paintings and other artwork that he marketed for sale as having been painted or created by world-famous artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, among others.  By knowingly and falsely claiming that these fake works were painted by these famous artists, PEREDA tried to trick purchasers into paying millions of dollars for the fake works, which, as the defendant well knew, were essentially worthless.

To deceive his victims, PEREDA falsified the provenance – that is, the ownership history – of the forged artworks.  On one occasion, PEREDA attempted to facilitate the sale of a painting purportedly by Basquiat, which PEREDA referred to as “Glory Boys Kingdom.”  When told by another individual that a particular false provenance had been detected as fraudulent, PEREDA created and sent to an individual in New York new fraudulent provenances, so that the painting could be sold for millions of dollars.  A photograph of “Glory Boys Kingdom” is below:

 

PEREDA is also connected to at least three other works of art purportedly by Basquiat and Haring, which have been determined to be fraudulent.  Photographs of the pieces are below:

 

 

If you believe you have additional information regarding ANGEL PEREDA, also known as “Angel Luis Pereda Eguiluz,” please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI or NYArtCrime@fbi.gov, and reference this case.

PEREDA, 49, of Mexico, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI Art Crime Team in the investigation, which she noted is ongoing.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel L. Raymond is in charge of the prosecution.

The charge and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation as to the defendants charged in the Complaint.

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