That’s the lot for auction scammers
A Paris court has convicted two auctioneers and 33 other people working for France’s biggest auction house in a vast, long-running scam to steal thousands of valuable items worth millions of euros. The works included a Courbet painting, Chagall and Matisse lithographs, stage costumes of famous French mime artist Marcel Marceau, a Ming-period Chinese tray and a 2.08-carat diamond. The case involved about 50 people who worked at Hotel Drouot, the biggest and oldest French auction house. They were charged with gang-related theft, conspiracy to commit a crime or handling of stolen goods. One auctioneer was handed a 12-month suspended prison term and a 30,000 euro fine and the other an 18-month suspended prison term and a 25,000-euro fine. Two auctioneers were acquitted. Of the 33 auction workers convicted, 19 were sentenced to prison terms from six months to 18 months and the other 14 were given suspended sentences. Twenty-seven were sentenced to fines from 5,000 to 60,000 euros. Eight auction workers were acquitted. The court ordered the dissolution of the company that employed the auction workers and worked with Drouot.