June 16th, 2024

Florida art dealer pleads guilty in Warhol forgery scheme

By The Associated Press on February 21, 2023.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) – A South Florida art dealer pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday in connection with a scheme involving the sale of fake Andy Warhol paintings.

Daniel Elie Bouaziz, 69, pleaded to a single count of money laundering in Fort Pierce federal court, while prosecutors agreed to drop 16 other counts related to fraud and embezzlement, according to court records. He faces up to 10 years in prison at a May 30 sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors said Bouaziz, the owner of Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli in Palm Beach County, sold counterfeit artwork to a customer in October 2021 including pieces purportedly by Warhol.

Bouaziz told the customer that the pieces, which he was selling for between $75,000 and $240,000, were authentic originals and that some were signed by the artist, investigators said.

Officials said the customer gave Bouaziz a $200,000 down payment that was deposited into Bouaziz’s account, and then the comingled funds were wired to other accounts.

Warhol was an American visual artist and filmmaker most associated with the pop art movement of the 1960s.

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