Noted New York Art Dealer, Lawrence B. Salander, Arrested for Stealing $88 million

March 27th, 2009

Lawrence B. Salander in Court, Via New York Times

Yesterday morning, Lawrence B. Salander, Upper East Side art dealer and owner of the now bankrupt Salander-O’Reilly Galleries was arrested at his estate on Millbrook, New York. Salander is accused of stealing $88 million from high-profile investors, art owners and Bank of America. The Grand Jury of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan charged him with grand larceny, falsifying business records, scheming to defraud, forgery and perjury. Salander pleaded not guilty and may face up to twenty five years in prison. The Justice ordered a $1 million bail.

News Release
[New York County District Attorney's Office]
Times Topics:Lawrence B. Salander [New York Times]
Art Dealer is Charged with Stealing $88 Million [New York Times]
Tennis Great John McEnroe helps nab art dealer Lawrence Salander, who was indicted for fraud [New York Daily News]
Salander Charged with Stealing $88 million [Artforum]
Art-World Madoff Arraigned in Manhattan Court [Artinfo]

Salander probably initiated his money-making scheme during the mid-nineties, but his project started to crack when tennis player and art collector John McEnroe became contentious over two Arshile Gorky works (Pirate I and Pirate II). Salander sold several 50% stakes in the works to McEnroe and various other buyers. When McEnroe found out, he confronted Salander and followed with civil suit in 2007.  In that same year, his gallery went bankrupt and he was contacted by prosecutors.

Lawrence B. Salander, Via New York Post

By selling artwork that was not owned by him and attracting money into corrupt investment opportunities, Salander managed to live a lavish lifestyle.  Besides directing his Salander-O’Reilly Gallery with which he aimed to monopolize the Renaissance art market, he traveled to Europe in a private jet, threw a $60,000 party at the Frick Collection and bought jewelry for his wife at Sotheby’s.  His less than kempt appearance at the Supreme Court –unshaven and a stained hooded sweatshirt- formed a stark contrast to his former opulent lifestyle.

Currently, Authorities are still investigating and suspect he might have stolen over a $100 million.