Third time not charm for art scam­mer

New York Post - - NEWS - Rebecca Rosen­berg

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.

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