News Releases

May 22, 2017: Art Dealer Sentenced for Theft of Paintings Worth More than $1 Million

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A former art dealer was sentenced today for stealing over $1 million owed to the owners of paintings sold through his gallery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa Zarate of the White Collar Crime Division said Perry Rubenstein, 63, will serve six months of actual time in jail and three years of formal probation. If the defendant is found in violation of probation, he could be sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Rubenstein also was ordered to pay $1,142,500 to his victims, Michael Ovitz and Michael Salke.

On March 30, the defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

Beginning in 2012, Rubenstein sold a Takashi Murakami painting on behalf of Salke but failed to turn over the full amount to him.

The following year, the former art dealer sold two Richard Prince paintings on behalf of Ovitz but never paid his client and kept the proceeds.

Case BA444929 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bunco-Forgery Division.