News Releases

March 30, 2017: Former Art Dealer Pleads to Theft of Paintings

Greg Risling, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A former art dealer pleaded no contest today to charges that he failed to pay more than $1 million to the owners of paintings sold through his gallery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Perry Rubenstein, 63, entered his plea to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement in case BA444929. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa Zarate of the White Collar Crime Division is prosecuting the case.

In 2013, Rubenstein claimed he sold two paintings by artist Richard Prince for Michael Ovitz, totaling nearly $1 million. In both instances, Rubenstein allegedly never paid his client and kept the proceeds.

In 2012, Rubenstein is accused of selling a painting by Takashi Murakami on behalf of Michael Salke but failed to turn over the full amount to him.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bunco-Forgery Division.