Banksy’s anonymity has given his fame an extra jolt of excitement but it also opens up the artist to being ripped off and his collectors defrauded. Graham Champkins-Howard and Lee Parker, two London artists, were convicted of fraud, according to The Art Newspaper, but given very light sentences of community service and banned from selling anything on the internet for 5 years for their role in selling fake Banksy works:
The British graffiti artist Banksy, being anonymous, may have appeared a particularly easy target for fraudsters, since he would presumably be unwilling to appear in court. Lawyer Richard Mandel, prosecuting, said Howard and Parker were “keen Banksy enthusiasts who exploited the weaknesses of an anonymous artist”. They sold the fakes in Britain and abroad, mainly through eBay. The men had identified an opportunity, after prices of authentic prints rose by up to tens of thousands of pounds. […]
During the investigation, more than 120 fakes were recovered, half from the men’s home addresses and the remainder from victims. If genuine, these would have been worth over £200,000. The fake prints included Golf Sale sold to an American for £6,500, Monkey Queen sold to a Spaniard for £4,500, and Turf War sold to a British buyer for £1,850.
Banksy Forgers Sentenced to Community Service (The Art Newspaper)