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Men Involved In Selling $3.2M Worth Fake Dalí, Picasso Sentenced To Prison

Two men, who had sold fake Dalí and Picasso works worth $3.2 million, were sentenced to prison earlier this month.

Behrad Kazemi and Raj Nasta were accused of running a fraudulent financial service that duped people into buying fake paintings of artists like Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. According to investigations, they sold Dalí paintings for £2,000 – £3,000 each while Picasso’s works were sold for £5,000 – £20,000. Between October 2016 and June 2018, the two conmen fooled more than 125 victims.

The modus operandi of the fraud was straightforward but fairly ingenious. The men contacted victims via Asset Consulting Services and Treasury Asset Group – a fake financial consulting group. Their potential victims would include the elderly and financially vulnerable people. The duo would try to convince people to buy blue-chip art as a form of investment. The strategy was sound, if not for the catch that the paintings they were selling were fakes and barely worth more than £200-£300.

The duo first came under the radar of Sussex Police when some of the victims were unable to contact the consulting group and subsequently filed police reports. This led the Sussex Police to launch a six-year-long investigation into the fraud. The police obtained a warrant to raid and seize Kazemi’s financial records in June 2018. Further investigation revealed that not only were the duo selling fake paintings but also sending out the money to an offshore account. The investigation also hinted towards ties with international terrorist groups.

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Finally, on March 13, the Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex sentenced the two men to prison. Raj Nasta was given a three-year prison sentence, while Kazemi was sentenced to 4 years and 9 months.