Philip Righter has pleaded guilty to the sale of paintings he claimed were created by artists such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol and others, and admitted to lying on his income tax returns.
Righter attempted to bilk victims out of six million dollars by forging authenticity papers for paintings he claimed were legitimate. He caused losses of at least $758,265 and his fraudulent tax returns cost the United States more than $100,000.
One victim loaned Righter $24,000 based on a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that Righter put up as collateral. The victim discovered the painting was a fake when Righter defaulted on the loan and he tried to sell it.
On his 2015 tax return Righter submitted a false W-2 and a false donation of fraudulent art to a charity, which resulted in a tax refund of $54,858. He later filed an amended 2015 return and claimed a loss of $2,575,000 for artwork he said was stolen and had no value. The amended return resulted in false carry back refunds totaling $52,485.
Righter faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.