Here’s the art-centered portion of the indictment of Morris Zukerman released today by Preet Bharara’s office:
Between 2008 and 2013, ZUKERMAN directed that over $50 million of the funds transferred to Zukerman Investments be used to purchase paintings by European artists from the 15th through the 19th centuries (the “Old Master paintings”), which ZUKERMAN used to decorate his Upper East Side apartment and the apartments of two family members – Family Member-1 and Family Member-2.
In connection with the purchase of the Old Master paintings, ZUKERMAN schemed to defraud New York State of over $4.5 million of sales and use taxes by directing that the paintings, which were frequently purchased from galleries located blocks from ZUKERMAN’s Manhattan residence, be shipped by the galleries to ZUKERMAN’s corporate addresses located in Delaware and New Jersey, and transported immediately thereafter (sometimes within minutes), by ZUKERMAN and others, back to ZUKERMAN’s residence in New York – all without the payment to New York State of sales or use taxes. ZUKERMAN further schemed to defraud New York State of sales and use taxes by using his corporate address in New Jersey to be falsely listed on a sales invoice for a $645,000 pair of diamond earrings he purchased in Europe from a jeweler who turned over possession of the earrings to a member of ZUKERMAN’s family in Manhattan but charged no sales tax, based on the out-of-state address provided by ZUKERMAN.
Bloomberg is reporting another case of tax evasion involving art. This time the art is only one of several counts in the indictment of Morris Zukerman who was once head of Morgan Stanley’s energy group:
Zukerman failed to report profits from the sale of an equity stake, lied to his accountants, created phony and backdated documents and shipped paintings to addresses in Delaware and New Jersey to avoid New York state sales tax on artwork that hangs in his Park Avenue duplex, according to the indictment. He also took improper tax deductions, according to the indictment.
Manhattan Energy Investor Indicted In Tax Fraud Schemes Involving Evasion Of Over $45 Million Of Income And Sales Taxes (USAO-SDNY | Department of Justice)
Sham Art Sales, Backdating Cited by U.S. in $45 Million Tax Scam (Bloomberg)