On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had arrested a 49-year-old man named Angel Pereda who had allegedly tried to sell faked artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. According to its release, Pereda, who hails from Mexico, had been asking for millions of dollars for the works.
Among those works were two paintings done in the style of Haring’s signature motifs, including his barking dogs and three-eyed monster, as well as a vase lined with similar imagery that Pereda allegedly said was also by the artist.
In a newly unsealed complaint filed in the Southern District Court of New York on June 29, the FBI accused Pereda of trying to sell a Basquiat painting that he called Glory Boys Kingdom. He allegedly offered it with a $6 million price tag to an unnamed New York individual working with the FBI. When that individual told Pereda that the painting was a fake, Pereda told them that he would create what the complaint called “a new fictitious provenance.”
The complaint cited allegations from unnamed employees at auction houses who had been contacted by Pereda about the faked Haring works. The Keith Haring Foundation confirmed to them that the works were fakes.
Paintings by Basquiat and Haring regularly fetch millions of dollars at auction. They are sought after by collectors and considered highly valuable to dealers.
William F. Sweeney, Jr., assistant director of the FBI, said in a statement, “As we allege, Mr. Pereda conned art buyers, hoping his victims wouldn’t see the difference between real art and a forgery. He used their trust to his advantage by passing off worthless pieces as priceless works of art. Hopefully, this case provides a lesson to any others hoping to engage in similar behavior.”