Palm Beach Art Dealer Indicted on Charges Related to Art Fraud Scheme
Miami, Florida – Palm Beach art dealer Daniel Elie Bouaziz was charged by Indictment with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in connection with his alleged scheme to sell forged high-end artwork.
The indictment alleges Bouaziz engaged in a scheme to sell paintings and other artwork that he falsely marketed for sale as original or authentic pieces by prominent artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Banksy, and Roy Lichtenstein. The indictment further alleges that the fraudulent art, that was purchased from Bouaziz, was picked up from Bouaziz’s South Florida galleries, mailed by commercial interstate carrier, and hand-delivered to Bouaziz’s victims. Bouaziz purchased and acquired pieces from various sources, to include online auction sites at low prices, and falsely sold the pieces as originals, at drastically increased prices, at his retail art galleries on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. To make the fraudulent art appear authentic, Bouaziz allegedly made false representations to prospective buyers regarding the provenance and originality of the art. To support these false statements, it is alleged Bouaziz, among other things: (1) provided prospective buyers with invoices and documents that included false provenance information; (2) omitted descriptors that were included with low-cost online purchases, to include “after” and “reproduction” language; (3) sold prospective buyers pieces on which false edition numbers and artists’ signatures had been added; and (4) provided prospective buyers with certificates of authenticity that included false assertions and appraisals which had a stamped signature block that read “Daniel Bouaziz, Certified International Fine Art Appraiser.”
The indictment further alleges that Bouaziz committed money laundering by engaging in transactions in criminally derived property.
Bouaziz was previously charged in a criminal complaint under case number 22-mj-08209-RMM.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John J. Bernardo, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; and Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Miami Office, made the announcement.
FBI Miami’s West Palm Beach Office and IRS-CI Miami investigated this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah J. Schall is prosecuting this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter A. Laserna is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of this case.
An indictment contains mere allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If you believe you have been a victim of art fraud, please contact the FBI’s Art Crime Team at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 22-cr-80099.