US Seizes Trove of Stieglitz and Weston Photographs. 16 million dollars of photographs, by such iconic 20th-century photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Edward Weston, was seized. The works were bound for a private Spanish residence via Amsterdam.
An 18-wheeler transported 1,100 of the photographs from Texas to New Jersey and then to a New York warehouse last year when U.S. authorities began an investigation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark announced on Friday that a Feb. 22 court filing alleges the artwork was purchased with money collected in a scheme that sold fake credits for renewable energy.
The complaint seeks to force the owner, Philip Rivkin, to forfeit the photograph collection. The Feds allege that his Houston-based company, Green Diesel, fraudulently funneled money into forming the collection.
Last year, Green Diesel CEO Philip Rivkin was issued notice of violation (NOV) by the U.S. EPA April 30 for generating more than 60 million fake credits for renewable energy.
“The CEO moved to Europe unexpectedly in late 2011 and left the U.S. operation high and dry—no money, no management team, no nothing,” says the source per an article at Bloomberg. “He never addressed this situation with his employees, but just seemed to move on with his life, leaving a trail of unpaid bills and lawsuits behind him."
The Dutch police arrested a 19-year-old woman in connection to the art heist in Rotterdam last fall that netted seven artworks by the likes of Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso and Monet, among others. The robbery took place before daybreak on October 16, 2012.
The woman is the girlfriend of one of two Romanian men already arrested in Bucharest on suspicion for the crime in January. She is thought to have occupied a flat where the stolen paintings had been stored.
Security footage helped police target the Romanian men, aged 25 and 28, for their behaviour and frequency of thier visits to the Kunsthal Gallery in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
"Given the speed with which it was carried out it was clear it must have been well prepared," the police said in the statement.
"Three people have been arrested, but unfortunately we did not get the paintings back," a Dutch police spokeswoman confirmed. The paintings are worth "millions of Euros" but can't be sold legally as they have been registered as stolen. So, like so many priceless art pieces, they will disappear into the criminal underground and probably never resurface.
In local art crime news, Oakland police still have not arrested anybody for last month's murder of a local teen during First Friday's art event.
The lawlessness in Oakland continues to escalate. According to an article in the New York Times, photojournalists working in Oakland face an epidemic of camera, laptop and other equipment related robberies.
"In less than a year, every major television news station in the Bay Area has been a victim, some more than once. One experienced newspaper photographer has lost five cameras."
However, there is good news about the theft of the priceless jewel box from the Oakland Museum of California. The news just came over the wire that the police have arrested a suspect and recovered the box.