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Art mogul moves from gallery to cell in tax fraud sentence

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2019 | Firm News |

For art lovers, the colors and textures on a canvas can invoke a message, emotion or memory. But while much of art is left to individual interpretation, the laws surrounding it are far more concrete.

New York American art dealer and gallerist, Mary Boone, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Due to tax fraud reportedly costing the government $3 million in revenue, a judge denied the former “Queen of the Art Scene’s” request for a second chance in Federal District Court.

Regarding her alleged two counts of filing false tax returns, Boone pleaded guilty. But this is not the first time that the fixture of the art world has faced charges.

Actor Alec Baldwin Sued Boone

In 2016, a Sotheby’s expert confirmed that a Ross Bleckner painting Baldwin purchased from Boone for $190,000 was a fake.

The painting seemed off. The brush strokes, less feathery than Baldwin remembered. And the colors, brighter. As for the fresh smell of the artwork in question, Baldwin was told the painting had been cleaned for him.

Both the artist and the dealer admitted to their wrongdoing. And while the statute of limitations prohibited Baldwin from pressing charges, the civil dispute reportedly ended in a seven-figure settlement.

This time, a judge has dethroned the queen

While it remains to be seen how Boone’s gallery will thrive in her absence, Boone has paid nearly $7 million in taxes, interest and penalties associated with her tax returns dating from 2009 to 2011.

There may remain disputes over Boone’s punishments despite her back payments. However, perhaps it is not only right, but also fair, to expect the art enthusiast to abide by tax laws – even if the punishment comes in the form of a multimillion-dollar penalty and a monochromatic uniform.