The Chicago Tribune tells the story of fallen art dealer Alan Kass who defrauded numerous buyers, including Cathy Quainton:
“There was no reason to think something was wrong,” said Quainton, who wound up buying about 15 pieces from the gallery for more than a combined $14,000. “Now I know better.”
On Tuesday, nearly six years after federal authorities raided the gallery in the 300 block of West Huron Street, Kass was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to spend an additional six months on home confinement for selling phony artwork to hundreds of unsuspecting buyers like Quainton.
Federal prosecutors had sought about five years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras said he took into account Kass’ recent health problems in fashioning a more lenient sentence. Kass turns 76 Wednesday.
“You have stained the art industry … and for that you have to pay some punishment,” said the judge, who also ordered Kass to pay $350,000 in restitution to wronged customers.
Kass and two associates, including a New York distributor still awaiting sentencing, were indicted in 2011 as part of a sweeping investigation into international art fraud that eventually ensnared a dozen defendants.