Lawrence Salander, 60, appeared in the state Supreme Court of New York on Thursday, March 18th, to plead guilty to 28 counts of grand larceny, for which he faces six to 18 years in prison, and $120 million dollars in restitution. The multi-million-dollar scam has gained a great deal of publicity, as it has affected prominent art figures like John McEnroe, famed tennis star, and Robert De Niro, the Academy Award-winning actor, to name a few.
According to authorities, after investing in Arshile Gorky’s “Pirate I and II,” McEnroe soon realized that his share had simultaneously been sold to another collector. Prosecutor’s mentioned that several paintings by De Niro’s father were sold without the actor’s documented consent, and that several other victims reported losses totaling several millions, including: Earl Davis, son of the American abstract painter Stuart Davis, who lost $6.7 million; Bank of America ,reportedly lost $2 million after Salander used paintings that he did not own to secure a loan; and Hester Diamond, mother of Mike D (Beastie Boys), suffered $6 million in total losses.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, “Lawrence Salander’s desire for an extravagant lifestyle turned long-time friends and trusted business colleagues into his personal piggy banks.” Salander is expected back in court on May 20, 2010, in order to proceed with the plea agreement of restitution, which will lighten the 25-year prison sentence he could have faced if he were convicted.
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