Sands Point Woman Sold $12M in Fake Art, Feds Say

An art dealer from Sands Point has been accused of hiding millions she made from selling counterfeit artwork purported to be painted by leading abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning.

Glafira Rosales was arrested Tuesday and charged with filing false tax returns and with failure to disclose an offshore bank account in Spain. Federal prosecutors said the 56-year-old failed to report the at least $12.5 million in income from the sales.

“Glafira Rosales gave new meaning to the phrase ‘artful dodger’ by avoiding taxes on millions of dollars in income from dealing in fake artworks for fake clients,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

The case, which was first reported by The New York Times last year, is also the subject of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

Rosales began selling what were described as previously unknown paintings that had never been exhibited before in the 1990s and from 2006 to 2008, she sold about a dozen of the paintings to two prominent Manhattan galleries for more than $14 million, authorities said.

She allegedly said her client had ties to Switzerland and wished to remain anonymous, but was in fact fictitious.

Investigators found that art, art history and materials science experts determined that “at least several of the paintings sold by her are counterfeit.”

Rosales faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for failing to disclose the bank account. She will arraigned Tuesday at Manhattan federal court.