Florida man who bought a Rothko from Sothebys using a stolen identity sentenced to 4.5 years in prison

Antonio DiMarco Courtesy Broward Sheriff's Office

Florida-based interior designer Antonio DiMarco has been sentenced to 54 months in prison for participating in conspiracy to commit wire fraud when purchasing artworks from galleries, auction houses, and private collectors.

At a Sothebys New York auction in November 2017, DiMarco and an associate identified by the FBI as the art advisor Joakim von Ditmar used the identity of a wealthy octogenarian retiree from Bal Harbor to place the winning bids on an untitled Mark Rothko painting, which sold for $6.4m, and an Ad Reinhardt painting titled No. 12, for $1.2m. At the time of the auction, DiMarco and Von Ditmar presented Sothebys with the retirees passport and bank account information, along with falsified documents indicating that she had authorised the pair to bid on her behalf. “Our discussions with the purchasers raised significant suspicion and concern for the elderly client they purported to represent and we felt it was necessary to contact the FBI,” Sothebys told the Sun Sentinel in 2018.

According to a statement made by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, DiMarco and Von Ditmar continued to try to fraudulently purchase art after that auction until at least October 2018. They used a variety of methods including appropriating the identities of victims and “creating and presenting a slew of fraudulent documents”. During a nearly one-year period, the pair attempted to purchase art from approximately 20 galleries and collectors worldwide, never actually paying for the works but reaching the point of completed sales agreements for “more than 60 artworks totaling in excess of $150m”, according to the US Attorneys Office. These included pieces by Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper and Henri Matisse, the latter valued at $16.5m. DiMarco kept making up excuses for his lack of paymRead More – Source