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Press Release

New Jersey Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion in Connection with Multimillion Dollar Art Transaction

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A New Jersey man was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release today for tax evasion in connection with over $1.2 million in income related to the proceeds from the sale of a purportedly original Caravaggio painting.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of IRS Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Nashville Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Troy Sowers of the FBI’s Knoxville Field Office made the announcement. 

Brian Gimelson, 48, of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the Southern District of Indiana.  Judge Pratt also ordered Gimelson to pay $432,456 in restitution.  Gimelson pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2018 to two counts of attempting to evade or defeat a tax. 

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Gimelson earned a substantial income for his role in a transaction involving the sale of a purportedly original painting by the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi, commonly known as Caravaggio, titled, “David With the Head of Goliath” (the Caravaggio Painting).  Despite earning over $1.2 million in income on this transaction, Gimelson admittedly did not timely file income tax returns and he did not timely pay tax due and owing to the United States. 

In order to conceal his income and evade the payment of his tax liabilities, Gimelson admittedly created a company, had his wife serve as managing member of the company, and used this company to facilitate the Caravaggio Painting transaction.  Despite creating this company in his wife’s name, Gimelson admitted that he controlled the company and its bank accounts, including the fees Gimelson received for his role in the Caravaggio Painting transaction.  Gimelson further admitted that he directed his wife to make frequent and substantial cash withdrawals on his behalf from company accounts, and Gimelson used company funds to purchase collectibles and precious metals, among other things. 

At sentencing, the Court concluded that Gimelson’s tax evasion caused losses of $432,456 to the IRS. 

The case was investigated by IRS-CI’s Nashville Field Office and the FBI’s Knoxville Field Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Danny Nguyen and Caitlin Cottingham of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Updated February 1, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-61