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Lawrence B. Salander gets 18 years for art fraud

jmLawrence B. Salander, art dealer, co-owner of Salander-O’Reilly Galleries in New York and confessed fraud and thief who lived very well indeed on his unearned income, was sentenced Tuesday to six to eighteen years in prison and ordered to pay more than $114 million in restitution.

The 60-year-old Salander was arrested on suspicion of grand larceny and fraud in March last year, and was indicted on at least 100 counts of various crimes including perjury, scheming to defraud and forgery as well as grand theft amounting to $88 million and possibly more.

The ‘noted art dealer’ with a highly rated gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side apparently began his nefarious schemes several years ago, according to prosecuting attorneys.  Salander was ‘in the habit’ of selling artwork that did not belong to him, and also selling the same item to more than one buyer.

During the final court proceedings on Tuesday, one after another of Salander’s victims rose to call for his conviction, and for a harsher sentence than that handed down by Justice Michael J. Obus.

Included among the number of those who suffered losses due to Salander’s criminal activities were such well-known public figures as tennis star John McEnroe and Robert De Niro Sr., father of the noted actor and an artist himself.

McEnroe said he had paid $162,500 to Salander and the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries that he expected them to use as investment in art that would be sold at a profit, but McEnroe himself never profited.  De Niro was one of several noted contemporary American artists whose work was sold by Salander as his own property.

Attorney for the defendant Charles A. Ross told the court that his client was genuinely repentant, and argued for a lesser sentence, but the victims seem to feel that Salander is sorry only because he got caught.


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