Whether you are an experienced collector of art and antiquities or you are relatively new to its delights, it is important that you are aware of the tremendous amount of art crime and antiquities fraud that is currently plaguing the industry. The U.S. Department of Justice recently indicated that art crime is one of the top three criminal trades in the world, with a variety of crimes being perpetrated. Though outright theft and looting of antiquities is what generally gets covered in the news, may people are being victimized by criminals that are selling items purported to be of high value that are actually counterfeits, forgeries, or fakes. If you suspect that the value of an antiquity or piece of art that you purchased has been misrepresented and that you’ve been the victim of antiquities fraud, the attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz can help. We have successfully represented many victims of this type of crime, and have been able to present evidence that has enabled them to recover punitive damages costs, and even legal fees. Contact us today for more information.
Antiquities fraud can actually go in two different directions. One kind of crime occurs when the victim is convinced to spend an inappropriate amount of money on an antiquity that they’ve been told is of higher value than its actual worth. The flip side of antiquities fraud comes when an unethical appraiser recognizes the actual value of an antiquity or other valuable, but provides the victim with too low a value in order to purchase it for less than it is worth. They then make a profit by reselling it at its true value. There have been several notable cases that have involved the television show Antiques Roadshow wherein an appraiser lied to obtain valuable items for personal profit.
The sinking suspicion that the investment you made on a seemingly valuable antiquity may actually have been a matter of being taken advantage of by a thief is intensely embarrassing and infuriating, and feels very personal, if it has happened to you then you’re not alone. The crime is so prevalent that it can fall under prosecution by the federal government on RICO or mail fraud charges, as well as state criminal charges and civil litigation. Antiquities fraud cases can be extremely complex, and representation by an attorney with extensive experience is highly recommended. At Bochetto & Lentz we have established extensive resources among the art community, including expert witnesses that are able to weigh in on value, provenance, and other important factors about your purchase. The testimony of this type of expert or appraiser is a valuable contribution to providing the evidence that is needed to win your fraud case, and their level of expertise can also assist in determining whether inappropriate valuation has taken place.
Learn more about Antiquities Fraud here – http://bochettoandlentz.com/practice-areas/antiquities-and-art-fraud-attorney/