An Orange County art dealer helped state police bust an out-of-state man selling forged art pieces for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In November last year, state police in Middletown were contacted by a local art dealer in Wallkill, who reported that he had brokered a deal with Buckeye, Arizona, resident Gerrell Roberts, who allegedly sold him what was described as original Tom Wesselmann and Andy Warhol pieces that were part of his family’s collection.
Police said that both pieces were sold to a private collector in Connecticut that same month, though the art dealer was later informed that the Wesselmann piece had been appraised and determined to be a forgery by officials. The Warhol piece is still being examined. The Orange County art dealer was also in possession of two other pieces of art from Roberts which were determined to be forgeries.
At the direction of state police investigators, the art dealer contacted Roberts and advised him that the pieces had sold for $298,000 and that he would need to travel to New York to receive the payment.
Last week, Roberts flew to New York, believing he was collecting the near $300,000 check. He instead was arrested by state police at Stewart Airport.
Roberts was arrested and charged with felony counts of second and third-degree grand larceny. Following arraignment, Roberts was remanded to the Orange County Jail in lieu of $90,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. He is due back in the Town of Wallkill Court later this year to answer the charges.
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