US police have arrested seven people connected with a multi-million dollar art forgery ring which used eBay to sell faked pictures. Four Americans, two Spaniards and an Italian are accused of selling thousands of pictures to buyers from all over the world, primarily through eBay.
Fake copies of works by artists such as Miro, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Dali were sold for up to $50,000 each.
Most of the pictures were copies of limited edition prints. Commenting on the scale of the operation, US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said “it is alleged in the indictment that the defendants issued 2,500 counterfeit Calder prints and 600 counterfeit Chagall prints.” He said that dealers who were handling the sales were warned not to try to sell too many at once, in case they flooded the market.
The entire operation is said to have netted profits of more than $5million. If convicted, the accused face up to twenty years in jail. Anyone who believes they have been sold a fake picture can file a complaint through the US Dept. of Justice’s website.