Art Dealer arrested for selling Fake Warhol's in Palm Beach
Daniel Elie Bouaziz, a Palm Beach art dealer, has pleaded guilty to selling a counterfeit artwork by Andy Warhol.
FBI Agent Marc A Gervasi from the Art Crime Team suspected Bouaziz of selling fake artworks of Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Banksy, and more.
The investigation found that Bouaziz had sold fake artworks to at least six people from his two Palm Beach, Florida galleries.
The investigation saw law enforcement officials go undercover to buy a fake Warhol Superman print work from Bourziz.
The print had an unauthorized stamp from the Carnegie Museum of Art put there to make the work look more authentic. After checking with the Andy Warhol Foundation and Carnegie Museum, the investigation found that the Carnegie museum was unauthorized to produce and distribute “Superman” edition prints and had not done so.
The FBI continued to purchase works from Bouaziz. Every time, Bouaziz allegedly provided proof of authenticity and promised that the buyers (undercover agents) were getting a good deal. Bouaziz claimed to have sourced work from reputable galleries and auction houses or a German millionaire living in Peru.
The undercover agents documented all the pieces and their documents and found that they were faked. In the final sting, in late 2021, the Art Crime team agreed to buy a collection of artworks by Banksy, Keith Haring, Basquiat, and Georgia O’Keeffe for $22 million. The collection included a fake Basquait that Bouaziz was selling for twelve million, and he had bought it for $495 at an auction site.
Bouaziz was paid a downpayment in bitcoin.
Bouaziz sourced low-cost reproductions from online auction sites and then resold them as originals to unsuspecting victims at drastically increased prices.”
Further complicating matters is that Daniel Elie Bouaziz is in the U.S. on a tourist visa and is not allowed to operate a business.
Bouaziz pleaded guilty to money laundering in reference to the sale of counterfeit Warhol artwork. He received a downpayment of $200,000, which he transferred to other accounts. Bouaziz will be sentenced in May.
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