A Palm Beach art dealer is facing charges after the FBI raided his galleries on Worth Avenue last December in pursuit of allegedly fake artworks sold as originals by blue-chip artists. The case now involves an alleged scheme of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering related to art sales.
Daniel Elie Bouaziz appeared before a federal magistrate judge in West Palm Beach on Friday, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
The complaint accuses Bouaziz of falsely marketing reproduction works, bought inexpensively at online auctions, as originals by such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Banksy, and Roy Lichtenstein. His galleries, Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli, sold the reproductions to victims at a steep mark-up of tens – or hundreds – of thousands of dollars, according to the criminal complaint.
The fake artworks were presented with made-up provenance, or history of ownership, as part of the sales, according to the complaint.
He is additionally accused of laundering money from the art sales.
Bouaziz was released on $500,000 bail after the initial hearing Friday. He has not yet entered a plea to the charges, according to court records.