PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach art dealer was in federal court Friday to face multiple charges in connection with a scheme to sell forged high-end artwork.
The case involves Galerie Danieli on Worth Avenue, which was raided by federal agents led by the FBI and its art crime team in December.
Art dealer Daniel Elie Bouaziz is charged with a scheme to sell paintings and other artwork that he falsely marketed for sale as original or authentic pieces by multiple prominent artists, a criminal complaint affidavit alleges.
Officials said he tried to pass off fake artwork, claiming it was created by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein.
Bouaziz is accused of selling the fraudulent art from his Worth Avenue galleries — Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli.
Federal investigators said victims unknowingly purchased the fraudulent pieces — some of which were inexpensive reproductions — in some cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bouaziz is accused of purchasing low-cost reproductions from online auction sites, drastically marking up the prices and then selling the works to victims as originals.
Investigators said he used several tactics to deceive his victims, including falsifying a work's provenance and adding a signature to a piece to make it appear authentic and increase its perceived value.
Bouaziz also laundered money he received from the fraudulent art scheme, according to the affidavit.