Leader Of Miami Crew Sentenced To 63 Months In Prison For Defrauding Banks And Cryptocurrency Exchange Of More Than $4 Million
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ROBERT NEWLAND, the business partner of convicted art dealer INIGO PHILBRICK, was sentenced today to 20 months in prison in connection with a multi-year scheme to defraud various individuals and entities in order to finance PHILBRICK’s art business. U.S. District Judge Sydney H. Stein imposed today’s sentence.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Robert Newland helped Inigo Philbrick commit one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated in the art market. By taking advantage of the lack of transparency in the art market, Philbrick and Newland defrauded art collectors, investors, and lenders by lying about the true ownership interests of artworks and selling or pledging as collateral over 100% of numerous artworks. As the financial adviser, Newland appeared to give legitimacy to Philbrick’s art business, but in reality, he perpetuated the fraud. Today’s sentence sends a message to anyone who facilitates fraud in the art market that they will face serious consequences.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint, Indictment, and statements made in court:
From approximately 2016 through 2019, to finance his art business, PHILBRICK engaged in a scheme to defraud multiple individuals and entities in the art market located in the New York metropolitan area and abroad (the “Fraud Scheme”). NEWLAND was PHILBRICK’s business partner and financial adviser and conspired with PHILBRICK to perpetrate the Fraud Scheme. NEWLAND and PHILBRICK made material misrepresentations and omissions to art collectors, investors, and lenders to access valuable art and obtain sales proceeds, funding, and loans. NEWLAND and PHILBRICK knowingly misrepresented the ownership of certain artworks, for example, by selling a total of more than 100% ownership in an artwork to multiple individuals and entities without their knowledge and by selling artworks and/or using artworks as collateral on loans without the knowledge of co-owners and without disclosing the ownership interests of third parties to buyers and lenders.
Over the years, PHILBRICK obtained over $86 million in loans and sale proceeds in connection with the Fraud Scheme. NEWLAND and PHILBRICK made fraudulent misrepresentations about artworks including, among others, a 1982 painting by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat titled “Humidity,” a 2010 untitled painting by the artist Christopher Wool, and an untitled 2012 painting by the artist Rudolf Stingel depicting the artist Pablo Picasso.
In the fall of 2019, NEWLAND and PHILBRICK’s Fraud Scheme collapsed as various investors and lenders learned about the material misrepresentations and omissions PHILBRICK and NEWLAND had made.
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In addition to the prison term, NEWLAND, 46, of the United Kingdom, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, during which time he must complete 200 hours of community service per year. NEWLAND was further ordered to pay a forfeiture of $76,000 and the following property: (i) Personal Distance A, painting by Carroll Dunham, 96.5 x 124.5 cm (49 x 38 in.); (ii) Untitled 2016 painting, oil and etching on paper, by Christopher Wool, image size 19 x 15 cm (7.5 x 6 in), paper size 41.3 x 35.6 cm. (16.24 x 14 in.); (iii) Untitled 2007 print, Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, by Wade Guyton, 213.36 x 175.26 cm. (83.21 x 68.35 in.); and (iv) a Jean Prouvé desk H 72 x L 160 x P 71.5 cm. In addition, NEWLAND was ordered to pay restitution to victims in the amount of $67,489,808.
PHILBRICK, 35, a U.S. citizen formerly residing in the United Kingdom, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on November 18, 2021. On May 23, 2022, U.S. District Judge Sidney L. Stein sentenced PHILBRICK to seven years in prison and two years of supervised release. PHILBRICK was further ordered to pay forfeiture of $86,672,790 and restitution of $82,592,367.
Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Art Crime Team.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica K. Feinstein and Cecilia E. Vogel are in charge of the prosecution.