Published: August 10, 2010
The perpetuating saga of fraudulent activities relating to sales of consigned art by prominent Upper Eastside Manhattan art dealer Lawrence B. Salander have finally come to a close. Salander, who pleaded guilty to a $120 million fraud scheme this past March, was sentenced by the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on August 3 to serve 6 to 18 years in prison, the maximum time outlined in a plea arrangement. He was also ordered to pay more than $114 million in restitution, however, Justice Michael Obus acknowledged that it was unlikely that Salander would ever be able to raise those funds.
Salander, an Old Master’s specialist, was convicted of selling works of art belonging to clients without their permission and then keeping the proceeds. Paintings fraudulently sold by Salander’s company, Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, were by artists such as Picasso, Cezanne and Monet. Also among the trove were some 90 paintings from the collection of deceased American Modernist Stuart Davis.
A report in The New York Times stated that Salander broke down at the sentencing and stated, “First I want to apologize to the victims of my crimes. I know that I have wronged you and I am truly ashamed of my behavior. You trusted me and I betrayed you and I am deeply sorry for the pain and loss my actions have caused you.” He added, “I have lost my life, my business and my reputation. I am utterly and completely disgraced.”
Salander’s lawyer, Charles A. Ross, unsuccessfully requested leniency from the court due to Salander’s poor health. At 61, Salander, has reportedly recently suffered strokes, is a recovering alcoholic and narcotics abuser. Salander’s health problems and his apology, however, did not garner any favor from the judge or those who he had defrauded.
It has been reported that Salander will be eligible for parole in 2016.
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