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Crooked British art dealer jailed for up to 12 years by New York judge

A crooked British art dealer who sold Picassos and other renowned pieces while swindling clients for more than $10 million has been jailed for up to 12 years.

Timothy Sammons, 63, illicitly sold an extraordinary catalogue of artworks including Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme’, Marc Chagall’s ‘Reverie’,  and Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Nude’. 

The former Sotheby’s director, who operated out offices in London’s upscale Mayfair district as well as New York’s Upper East Side, admitted to several counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud as part of a plea deal on July 2. 

Conman: Timothy Sammons, 63, illicitly sold an extraordinary catalogue of artworks including Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme’, Marc Chagall’s ‘Reverie’, and Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Nude’

He was sentenced to spend between four to 12 years behind bars by a judge at Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

Between 2010 and 2015, Timothy Sammons Fine Art Agents brokered deals for clients and either ‘misled them’ about the timing of the sales, or ‘failed entirely’ to inform them that he had sold the pieces before pocking the profits for himself.   

The alleged victims include a luxury Caribbean hotelier, New Zealand art collector, Florida-based philanthropist and New York financier. 

Sammons, a trained solicitor, set up his own fine art agency in 1995 after serving as head of auctioneer Sotheby’s Chinese art department.

He operated as a respected agent and trusted confidante of aristocratic dynasties, matching up private buyers with discreet sellers.

Convicted: The former Sotheby's director, who operated out offices in London's upscale Mayfair district as well as New York's Upper East Side, admitted to several counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud as part of a plea deal on July 2

Convicted: The former Sotheby’s director, who operated out offices in London’s upscale Mayfair district as well as New York’s Upper East Side, admitted to several counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud as part of a plea deal on July 2

'Reverie' by Marc Chagall: Illicitly sold by conniving art dealer Timothy Sammons, 63

‘Reverie’ by Marc Chagall: Illicitly sold by conniving art dealer Timothy Sammons, 63

Henry Moore's 'Reclining Nude': The alleged victims include a luxury Caribbean hotelier, New Zealand art collector, Florida-based philanthropist and New York financier

Henry Moore’s ‘Reclining Nude’: The alleged victims include a luxury Caribbean hotelier, New Zealand art collector, Florida-based philanthropist and New York financier

Among his deals was the sale of John Singer Sargent’s painting Cashmere to the Bill Gates Foundation for a record-breaking $8.8 million.

But he was accused of misappropriating rare artworks placed in his care during complex sales negotiations, which sometimes lasted for years.    

‘When brokering the sales of high-priced, one-of-a-kind paintings, Timothy Sammons had lying, scamming, and stealing down to a fine art,’ said District Attorney Vance. 

‘For years, the defendant peddled a deceitful, money-spinning scheme, garnering the trust of prospective buyers and sellers only to defraud them of millions and use the ill-gotten gains to fund his lavish lifestyle.’    

'Calanque de Canoubier (Pointe de Bamer)' by Paul Signac: Illicitly sold by conniving art dealer Timothy Sammons, 63

‘Calanque de Canoubier (Pointe de Bamer)’ by Paul Signac: Illicitly sold by conniving art dealer Timothy Sammons, 63

Between 2010 and 2015, Timothy Sammons Fine Art Agents brokered deals for clients and either 'misled them' about the timing of the sales, or 'failed entirely' to inform them that he had sold the pieces before pocking the profits for himself

Between 2010 and 2015, Timothy Sammons Fine Art Agents brokered deals for clients and either ‘misled them’ about the timing of the sales, or ‘failed entirely’ to inform them that he had sold the pieces before pocking the profits for himself

Sammons used the money he stole for private club memberships, luxury travel accommodations and credit card payments, according to Vance. 

‘The emotional harm and financial harm done to the victims of this crime is very serious,’ Justice Ann Scherzer said. 

Sammons’ lawyer, David Touger, said in court that while his client concedes he took money, he ‘denies using any of the funds for his own personal enjoyment.’ He said the looted cash was used for business purposes.

"Buste de femme" by Pablo Picasso: Sammons used the money he stole for private club memberships, luxury travel accommodations and credit card payments, according to Vance

‘Buste de femme’ by Pablo Picasso: Sammons used the money he stole for private club memberships, luxury travel accommodations and credit card payments, according to Vance

Sammons was declared bankrupt in January 2017, had his passport confiscated and saw his £4 million home in Primrose Hill in North London repossessed after he defaulted on loans. After he serves his sentence, he will be deported back to the United Kingdom

Sammons was declared bankrupt in January 2017, had his passport confiscated and saw his £4 million home in Primrose Hill in North London repossessed after he defaulted on loans. After he serves his sentence, he will be deported back to the United Kingdom

At his sentencing, Sammons said he was ‘extremely sorry for all the trouble it’s caused people,’ adding that it ‘was not my intention to cause any grief at all.’ 

Sammons was declared bankrupt in January 2017, had his passport confiscated and saw his £4 million home in Primrose Hill in North London repossessed after he defaulted on loans. 

Until his deportation he lived in a friend’s basement away from his wife, who lived on handouts from friends and received around £15,000 a year that Sammons still earned advising clients. 

After he serves his sentence, he will be deported back to the United Kingdom. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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