Third time not charm for art scammer
A repeat art con man was busted for the third time for peddling $400,000 worth of fake Damien Hirst prints to buyers all over the world, authorities said Monday.
Vincent Lopreto, 52, who has been convicted twice of similar crimes, was extradited from New Orleans last week for the alleged fraud, which ran from October 2015 to February 2017.
When authorities showed up at his door and took him into custody, he assured them, “I’m just a white-collar criminal. You won’t get any trouble from me,” according to court papers.
Lopreto allegedly ripped off four victims in New York and many others abroad, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
He sold the works online, usually for $3,000 to $5,000 apiece, while authentic prints sell for closer to $20,000, officials said.
Prosecutor Jaime HickeyMendoza successfully ar- gued at Lopreto’s arraignment Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court that he should be held without bail.
Investigators recovered a high-end art reproduction printer from his apartment, phony provenance paperwork and four fake prints, police said.