UPDATE: Lawrence Salander and Leigh Morse Arrested and Indicted in Art Fraud Scheme

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has painted a very bad picture of Lawrence Salander, Leigh Morse and the Salander O’Reilly Galleries after they obtained a second indictment in connection with Mr. Salander’s alleged theft from and defrauding of the estates of numerous artists.

As I previously noted in the first two blog entries, Mr. Salander has already been arrested and indicted in connection to an 88 million dollar fraud. This second offense involves the alleged theft of an additional 5 million dollars from numerous estates. These estates had given their works of art to Mr. Salander and his gallery so that they could be sold or exhibited.

It is alleged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that one of the victims is the estate of Robert De Niro, Sr., an American abstract expressionist painter, who is the father of actor Robert De Niro, Jr. It is claimed that artwork provided by Mr. De Niro’s estate was sold by the Saldner O’Reilley Gallery without notice or, in the alternative, without proper payment.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office:

“[T]he investigation revealed that the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. formally began a relationship with defendants in 1994 when the Salander-O’Reilly Gallery was made the exclusive representative of the Estate. As such, the Gallery was tasked with the promotion, sale, and exhibition of Robert De Niro, Sr. works. Throughout their 14-year relationship, Mr. Salander and other dealers of the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, including Ms. Morse, repeatedly sold De Niro, Sr. works, did not inform the Estate of the actual volume of sales, and did not pay the Estate for the majority of those sales. The investigation further revealed that Mr. Salander repeatedly used the stolen funds or the works of art themselves to satisfy Salander-O’Reilly Galleries’ debts. For instance, in June 2006, Mr. Salander and the Gallery entered into a settlement agreement whereby the Gallery relinquished full title and ownership of several works of art owned by the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. and other artists to a gallery in Italy, to satisfy the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries’ multi-million dollar debt to that Italian gallery.”

While Mr. Salander still faces up to twenty five years in prison on the new charges relating to Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Ms. Morse “merely” faces up to seven years in prison due to the indictment charging her with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and four years in prison for the charge of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.

If you or a loved one is charged with any fraud or white collar related crime in New York, contact the former Manhattan prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys at Crotty Saland PC to preserve your freedom and good name.

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