A prominent Palm Beach art dealer has entered a guilty plea in regard to an art fraud scam involving Andy Warhol works and more.
Daniel Elie Bouaziz pled guilty to federal money laundering charges as a result of his scheme to sell counterfeit artwork to patrons. According to an official release from the IRS, Bouaziz owns multiple art galleries in Florida, including Danieli Fine Art (at 226A Worth Avenue) and Galerie Danieli (at 230 Worth Avenue), in Palm Beach County.
On the approximate date of October 25, 2021, Bouaziz sold counterfeit artwork to a customer, purporting that the works were done by well-known artists, including legendary Pop Art creator, Andy Warhol.
Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and rose to international prominence in the early 1960s for his colorful, silkscreen depictions of Campbell's soup cans. Over the years, Warhol's distinctive style continued to earn acclaim across the world.
He also became nearly as famous for his lifestyle at his iconic New York City studio, The Factory, as for his art itself. Warhol rubbed elbows with New York's cooler-than-cool crowd, including Edie Sedgwick, The Velvet Underground, and more.
Although he died after routine gallbladder surgery in 1987, Warhol remains an art icon with his pieces frequently commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.
To that end, Bouaziz assured his buyer that his Warhol works were authentic, with similar pieces selling between $75,000 and $240,000. He even asserted that some of the art was signed by the late artist himself.
Believing Bouaziz's claims, the buyer paid a $200,000 down payment. Bouaziz deposited the funds into an account he owned, then transferred the money to multiple other accounts, including another in his name.
Bouaziz will be sentenced on May 30, 2023 with U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon presiding.
This arrest was the result of a joint investigation between IRS-Criminal Investigation Miami, FBI Miami, and the West Palm Beach Resident Agency.
If you believe you have been a victim of art fraud, the IRS and the FBI urge you to contact the FBI's Art Crime Team at 800-CALL-FBI.
Have you ever been the victim of art fraud?
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