A New York art dealer was charged today with stealing $88 million in investments and artwork in what may be an art-world Ponzi scheme, the Times reports. Investors and collectors say they entrusted Lawrence Salander with funds or artwork after the dealer promised hefty returns. In many cases, they were paid a fraction of the funds invested, or never saw the artwork again.
One hedge-fund manager says he gave Salander $3.575 million to buy artwork and was promised $3.725 million in return—but to date, Salander has paid him only $958,332. The family of artist John Crawford filed a lawsuit in 2007, claiming paintings and photographs worth $1.5 million consigned to the gallery were missing. Salander was arrested this morning at his home in Millbrook, NY.