A Rego Park man who owns a foundry in Long Island City was indicted last Thursday on charges he duped art collectors by selling them worthless copies of metal sculptures he claimed were valuable originals, the Queens district attorney said.
Brian Ramnarine, 48, of 63-33 98th Place in Rego Park, allegedly produced and sold unauthorized copies of sculptures by artists Saint Clair Cemin, Joel Fisher and Kenny Scharf, defrauding the purchasers of $140,000, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
He is alleged to have made additional copies beyond the number ordered by the sculptors who commissioned the castings of their works of art, to have sold these unauthorized extras to private collectors misrepresenting them as authentic reproductions and to have retained the proceeds for himself, Brown said in a release.
Ramnarine was charged last Thursday with grand larceny, falsifying business records, scheme to defraud and criminal simulation, Brown said. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The owner and operator of the Bronze Foundry and Gallery at 25-20 43rd Ave. in Long island City, Ramnarine is an accomplished artisan in his own right, described by Brown as a skilled craftsman with a reputation for excellence in the casting of bronze sculpture.
He apparently used that talent to make the reproductions appear to have an antiquity, rarity, source or authorship which they did not in fact possess, Brown said.
The indictment alleges that Ramnarine deceived two art collectors to whom he sold the forgeries between March 1998 and August 1999.
He allegedly unloaded onto a New Jersey art collector three unauthorized reproductions of works by Cemin which he cast himself and claimed as originals, defrauding his client of $47,500, Brown said.
A Bayside collector allegedly bought nine fraudulent copies of originals by Fisher and Scharf which Ramnarine had cast himself. Each of the authentic pieces would have a market value of about $25,000, and the collector was bilked of about $92,500, Brown said.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community News Group
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