The Ezra Chowaiki case has a shifted gears as the art dealer pleaded guilty and prosecutors recommended a prison term of 4-5 years. According to Bloomberg’s Katya Kazakina, Chowaiki has
agreed to forfeit $16 million and 25 works of art, including paintings by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Edgar Degas. Prosecutors said they plan to return the works to their rightful owners, though many of the paintings must be tracked down first. Some were transferred overseas, they said.
Whether Chowaiki has the cash to make his business partners whole is an open question. Now the game is securing the works in his possession:
“This guilty plea is just the first step in making whole Chowaiki’s many victims,” Judd Grossman, a lawyer for victims, said in an email. “There is still a lot of hard work ahead in tracking down these stolen artworks.”
This case may continue to have consequences as the details and market histories of those works are better understood.