Does embezzlement happen in the art world?

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Embezzlement

When it comes to the term “embezzlement,” people may think about employees stealing from banks or brokerage houses. However, embezzlement could happen in other industries and workplaces, including art galleries. A publicized incident in California raises awareness about possible embezzlement in the art world as the summer of 2021 saw a well-known Los Angeles art dealer face a criminal complaint.

Alleged embezzlement in the art industry

The art dealer faces federal charges claiming that he embezzled $260,000 from a bankrupt estate. The dealer’s gallery filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the art dealer and owner served as its custodian. Federal investigators claim that the dealer knowingly embezzled the money.

Reportedly, he moved $50,000 from the gallery to a company owned by the dealer. Another substantial check diverted money from the gallery to a creditor of another corporation.

The dealer remains innocent until proven guilty, but the news report does lead people to see a broader picture of embezzlement. Charges might derive from actions taken in many business enterprises, including ones not usually associated with finance.

Defendants facing embezzlement charges

Embezzlement refers to an instance where someone steals or misappropriates funds or assets placed in their trust. The crime may involve an employee taking money out of a company’s account and transferring it to a personal one. Using the funds to pay debts or other obligations would be another example of this white-collar offense.

Individuals charged with embezzlement could explore several defense strategies. The accused may claim that he or she did not embezzle anything. Perhaps someone deposited money into an account bearing the accused’s name after opening the account using identity fraud.

Entrapment could be another defense as law enforcement cannot entrap or violate a defendant’s rights. If the FBI or another law enforcement department did not procure the necessary warrants, the evidence might be inadmissible. The defendant may then be able to get the charges dismissed.