NY: AG James Sues Sotheby’s for Defrauding

NY: Attorney General James Sues Sotheby’s for Defrauding New York Taxpayers Out of Millions

New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit against the international auction house Sotheby’s for defrauding the state of New York and its taxpayers out of millions of dollars in unpaid sales tax.  The complaint alleges that Sotheby’s violated the New York False Claims Act by facilitating the creation and use of false tax exemption certificates — known as resale certificates — for an art collector and major client, even though it knew the art collector was not eligible to claim the exemption.

“Millionaires and billionaires cannot be allowed to evade taxes while every day Americans pay their fair share,” said Attorney General James.  “Sotheby’s violated the law and fleeced New York taxpayers out of millions just to boost its own sales.  This lawsuit should send a clear message that no matter how well-connected or wealthy you are, no one is above the law.”

In 2018, the collector’s company, Porsal Equities, entered into a settlement agreement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in which Porsal admitted it had improperly used resale certificates in violation of the New York False Claims Act.  The OAG investigation found that Porsal Equities admitted that it and its owner certified that they were purchasing artwork for resale when, in reality, they were purchasing the artwork for personal purposes — namely, for display and enjoyment at the collector’s private residence.

Today’s lawsuit — filed in New York County State Supreme Court — alleges that Sotheby’s knew that the collector and his company were not purchasing art for resale as art dealers in the normal course of business, but accepted their resale certificates anyway, and, in fact, facilitated the creation and use of these resale certificates.  In 2010, Sotheby’s advised the collector he could use a resale certificate and helped complete the certificate, including adding the false declaration that he was an art dealer even though, in reality, the collector had not told Sotheby’s he was an art dealer and Sotheby’s knew he was actually in the shipping business.  Sotheby’s not only accepted this resale certificate, but, by 2015, had accepted three more equally false certificates from Porsal Equities facilitated by Sotheby’s employees, despite overwhelming evidence that the collector and Porsal Equities were not art dealers and were only buying art for personal use.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Sujata Tanikella of the Taxpayer Protection Bureau, with the support of senior legal support analyst Bianca LaVeglia.  The Taxpayer Protection Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Thomas Teige Carroll and Deputy Bureau Chief Scott Spiegelman, and is a part of the Division for Economic Justice, which is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

STL.News References:

  1. letitia James Wikipedia Page
  2. New York Resource Page
  3. Can also be viewed on USA News Today
STLNEWS

STL.News is owned and operated by STL.News, LLC. We publish States Top Leading News. Our news is timely, unbiased and content is obtained direct from the source to obtain reliable information. Additionally, we will publish YouTube news video from major media companies.

Share
Published by
STLNEWS

Recent Posts

US received second battery of the Iron Dome Air Defense

(STL.News) Israeli Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the United States has received the second…

1 day ago

Hypnotic US F-35 Take-off From Aircraft Carrier

(STL.News) Welcome back to the Daily Aviation for a new documentary video about F-35C operation…

1 day ago

U.S. gears up for peaceful transition of power

(STL.News) The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested more than 100 people over last week's…

1 day ago

Thailand serves up cannabis cuisine to happy customers

(STL.News) The restaurant at the Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital in Prachinburi started serving its own…

1 day ago

Indonesia earthquake kills at least 45, injures hundreds

(STL.News) A powerful earthquake killed at least 45 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia's island…

1 day ago

January 16th: Today in History by AP

(STL.News) Highlights of Today in History: Start of Operation Desert Storm; Space Shuttle Columbia lifts…

1 day ago