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Press Release

Hungarian Woman Sentenced For Fraud And Money Laundering For Selling Counterfeit Art

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Zsanett Nagy, age 32, was given a sentence of time served, followed by two years of supervised release, for the offense of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Nagy was previously indicted, along with her then-husband Earl Marshawn Washington, for selling counterfeit artistic goods known as “woodblocks” or “woodcuts” to various buyers and then laundering the proceeds from the sale of those goods between 2018 and 2021. Washington and Nagy both pleaded guilty last year.

According to the indictment, xylography is the art of making “woodcuts,” or engravings made from wooden blocks, especially for printing using historical techniques. In traditional xylography, an artist uses a sharpened tool to carve a design into the surface of a woodblock. The raised areas that remain after the block has been cut are inked and printed, while the recessed areas that are cut away do not retain ink and will remain blank in the final print. Woodblock images can be printed onto paper, fabrics, textiles, or other materials. The technique has been used in different geographic regions at different times. One woodblock tradition stems from Germany starting around the 14th century and continuing for several hundred years thereafter.

Washington and Nagy sold inauthentic woodblocks and prints made from woodblocks that they as advertised as being from between the 15th and early 20th centuries. The buyers included a pair of woodblock collectors residing in France, as well as a buyer of a woodblock print who then resided in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The buyers of the woodblocks in France made PayPal payments to Nagy before learning that the woodblocks they purchased were not from the 15th and 16th centuries, as advertised. Nagy received these payments, moved the proceeds to a bank account in her name, and then quickly converted the proceeds to cash through withdrawals of several thousand dollars or more.

Nagy was ordered to pay restitution to these victims in the amount of $107,159.25. She also faces potential deportation for her conviction.

Washington is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2024.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ravi Romel Sharma and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Art Crime Team.

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Updated January 18, 2024