York woodblock collector allegedly cheated out of $118,000
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WHTM) — Two Hawaiians have been indicted on multiple counts of fraud related to fake wood art and antiques allegedly sold to collectors in Pennsylvania, according to the US Department of Justice.
According to a document from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the 60-year-old Earl Marchawn Washington and his 31-year-old wife Zanet Nagy, who live in Honolulu, Hawaii, allegedly sold fake “woodcuts” and “woodcuts” with engravings.
The woodblocks and woodcuts, which use a historical technique of art called xylography, are claimed by Washington and Nagy to be from the 15th and 20th centuries.
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It is also alleged that Washington and Nagy sold counterfeit logs and logs to several people and subsequently laundered the money obtained in the sales.
The indictment claims that the residents of Hamilton and York, as well as tworench collectors, were all conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively.
According to the DOJ document, two buyers inrance allegedly paid Washington and Nagy $84,350.91 via PayPal before discovering that the woodblocks they purchased were not from the 15th or 16th centuries, as advertised.
Nagy then allegedly transferred PayPal funds into a bank account in her name, and then withdrew several thousand dollars in cash.
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Washington was also charged with defrauding a York woodblock collector. The indictment alleges that the collector paid Washington, his girlfriend at the time, $118,810 from 2013 to 2016 in 130 woodblock purchases.
Officials did not say how much the Hummelstown collector paid for the fake artwork.
“Here we had collectors paying for what they thought were old, rare and valuable woodcuts and prints, but what they allegedly received was none of the above. Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of theBI’s Philadelphia Division of theBI’s Art Crime Team, said TheBI is in a unique position to investigate such matters and is committed to holding art scammers accountable.
The indictment seeks more than $200,000 from Washing and Nagy combined, which is allegedly the amount they received from selling the fake artwork.
Washington and Nagy were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering. Washington was charged separately with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
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The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering is 5 years imprisonment and a fine. The maximum penalty for the bank fraud charges in Washington is 30 years in prison and a fine.