Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Forger is a new memoir from Florida’s master art forger, Ken Perenyl. In the memoir the author almost admits to a series of crimes which could constitute a criminal conspiracy of grand theft and scheming to defraud. The painter believes that he is immune from prosecution because of the statute of limitations; it’s hoped he vetted all of his admissions before publication not with a priest but with a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney.
|The Artist working in Madeira Beach, Florida
But is the master forger really free from the threat of prosecution? A defense argument can be made that the forgeries are not forgeries at all in that he copied the style, formula and subject matter for secondary artists rather than copy known paintings and let others jump to conclusions and that any evidence of wrongdoing is circumstantial.
But what about the money? Press accounts of the memoir indicate that the expert art forger made a significant amount of money from the crimes. How he accounted for the money could directly affect how the statute of limitations would apply in his case. Further, it appears that he is still painting fakes, but listing them as fakes in a wonderfully worded convoluted waiver in his sales slips, which might not be sufficient to stop fraud allegations if the prices he sells the paintings are enhanced because of high resale value as genuine paintings especially if a reasonable person would believe that the paintings would later be sold as genuine. But even if he were prosecuted and punished would jail really be appropriate for his crimes.
Here are some excerpts from the Gaurdian Newspaper’s account.
An extraordinary memoir reveals how a gifted artist managed to forge his way to riches by conning high-profile auctioneers, dealers and collectors over four decades tells the story of Ken Perenyi, an American who lived in London for 30 years. The revelations within it are likely to spark embarrassment on both sides of the Atlantic as “a bombshell for the major international auction houses and galleries.”
Perenyi’s specialities included British sporting and marine paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. He concentrated on the work of well-known but second-rank artists, believing that the output of the greatest masters is too fully documented. Dealers were often told he had found a picture in a relative’s attic or spotted it in a car boot sale.
Perhaps Perenyi’s proudest moment came when a forgery of Ruby Throats with Apple Blossoms, by the American 19th-century artist Martin Johnson Heade, made the front page of a national newspaper and was heralded as a major “discovery”selling for nearly $100,000 at auction in New York.Perenyi believes he is free finally to publish his story because, although he was investigated by the FBI, the case was closed in 2003 and is subject to the statute of limitations. He said he has never discovered why the case was dropped, but he suspects the art world may have been keen to prevent the exposure of the serial forgeries.
His love of painting and the old masters remains undimmed and today he owns a studio in Madeira Beach, Florida. Asked if he regrets not finding recognition as an artist in his own right, he said: “I’ve often pondered that myself. But to have equalled the hand of such artists as Herring and Buttersworth and many others is for me a tremendous satisfaction.”
If you’ve been forging great works of art while the FBI is looking over your shoulder, call Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers who will paint a picture of your innocent nature for the Judge and Jury.
If a Florida law enforcement officer does not have a search warrant should you consent to a search of your home or car? Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers agree that you almost never have an obligation to consent to a search of your home or vehicle unless the officer has a proper search warrant.
But what happens when officers conduct a search without a search warrant anyway? Upon the filing of a motion to suppress all evidence discovered incident to a warrantless search a Judge will hold a suppression hearing to look at the circumstances of the search. The Judge will look to see if you gave consent to the search and for what are known as exigent circumstances.
| Quixotic Motion to Suppress
When you grant consent to search to a law enforcement officer, your permission to search is sufficient for him to conduct the search as long as it’s within the scope of the permission to search which was given. For example, if you give permission to search your car it doesn’t mean you’ve given permission for a search of your home or your business records.
People mistakenly think counterintuively that somehow if permission is given for an officer to conduct a search that the officer will refrain from conducting a search because he will think that permission would only be given if there was nothing to find.
But officers in Florida are taught to look for evidence of crime, that’s what good officer’s do. So an officer who is given permission to search your home, business records, computer hard drive, cell phone, or vehicle will always conduct a search because he has nothing to lose. Some officers have been known to enhance the likelihood of evidence being found with search and seizure throw bags. If an officer should find any evidence of criminal conduct the evidence will not be suppressed by a judge.
As you can imagine it’s a tempting solution for some law enforcement officers to falsely state that there was consent to a search in the police report and falsely testify at the suppression hearing that consent to search was given when it wasn’t. You’ll want a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney to demand discovery, file a motion to suppress and establish for the Judge that you, not the officer, are being truthful at the suppression hearing.
Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer is often stopped on the street only to be solemnly asked by someone who looks suspiciously like you my gentle reader. Where is a safe place to store these missing body parts?
You could think that if your attorney might not readily have a satisfactory answer for you, that a Doctor with a medical examiner’s autopsy experience not to mention a few years of dating medical school cadavers as Doctors are prone to do, would have excellent insight into the best ways for successful body part storage.
Yet a former Florida medical examiner in Pensacola, Florida faces multiple felony charges for haphazardly storing leaking body parts in an improbable place – his private storage unit. And making matters worse in failing to keep up with payments on said storage unit allowing the contents to be auctioned to the highest bladder – oops, errrr – I mean, bidder.
Here are some excerpts from the body of press reports:
|Rembrandt, The Anatomy of Dr. Tulp, 1632
A man who bought the unit’s contents discovered the human organs after becoming overpowered by a strange smell while sifting through the items, authorities said…. Ten cardboard boxes stacked in a corner of the unit contained “numerous individual containers with … human remains stored in a liquid substance,” according to the affidavit. Most of the containers were labeled…and, according to the affidavitCrudely preserved brains, hearts, lungs and other organs and specimens were discovered in more than 100 containers (about half) in soda cups and plastic food containers
Now that bidding on the contents of Florida storage units has become so lucrative, one wonders if this find will increase or decrease the overall net value of bidding. No one is suggesting that the former medical examiner committed untold unsolved murders in Florida. And one wonders about the propensity of some Defendants to make themselves suspects of crime. But one thing is certain, there should be an increase in scrutiny on the reliability of the testimony given by medical examiners in the state of Florida. Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys are often dumbfounded by the malleability of medical examiners who are eager to provide whatever testimony prosecutors desire without regard to intellectual honesty and integrity.
Forensic laboratories are failing to abide by the high standards American justice demands and have come under scrutiny for lacking scientific standards leading to unacceptable errors all over the country. The reliability of forensic evidence is a recurring problem in federal FBI labs as well as many state labs and in Tampa Bay Florida prosecutions. What happens when the forensic laboratory tests from the state of Massachusetts can no longer be trusted? How could their problems have any significance for Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys in Florida?
Here’s an excerpt from an email sent by attorney Miriam Conrad of Massachusetts who shows us how interconnected Florida is to every other state in the country when it comes to faulty forensic laboratory results:
|Bastida, Doctor’s Laboratory
I am writing to alert you to an exploding scandal in Massachusetts involving misconduct by a chemist in the Massachusetts state drug testing lab. The scope of the misconduct hasn’t been fully revealed, but is serious enough to have resulted in the closing of the lab.
While the consequences are most immediately apparent for our clients herein Massachusetts whose federal cases involved the chemist or state lab, I wanted to notify you in the event that you have any clients (past or present) whose sentences were enhanced (career offender, 851, ACCA) based on a Massachusetts drug conviction. The chemist worked in the lab from 2003 until 2012. We have recent information that at least as of 2010, she was responsible for quality control in the lab, so all results from that period of time — whether or not she did the testing — may be in doubt.
Although there are many good lab technicians such as the forenic lab that recreated a novel a blind person wrote without ink. There are also failed lab technicians who place innocent lives in jeopardy of false convictions. As you can see fabricated evidence or faulty forensic laboratory analysis can directly impact the prior record of a Defendant even if the lab test was done years ago by placing doubt upon any prior convictions based on evidence from that laboratory. And it means that Clearwater Criminal Lawyers will filing Motions for Resentencing after checking up to see if clients who were sentenced here in Florida had any prior criminal acts from Massachusetts which were wrongfully counted.
A confidential informant is used by law enforcement to prosecute defendants when police are unable to secure probable cause for an arrest without the testimony from someone who has directly dealt with the defendant. Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys find that most major conspiracy and trafficking cases will have one or more confidential informants as witnesses. These witnesses will testify that they bought drugs from the defendant at grand jury proceedings and at trials.
|Manet, Bar at Folies-Bergere, 1882
Ideally the police wire the confidential informant, listen as a drug deal is consummated and arrive at the nick of time before the confidential informant becomes a grim statistic.
Unfortunately law enforcement are recklessly using young defendants as confidential informers in significant drug deals as detailed in this recent heartbreaking New Yorker article about young people haplessly murdered while under the protection of police as they tried to work off minor drug charges. In one case that took place in Florida the police gave a young confidential informant $13,000 in cash to buy drugs and a gun from the target. She was murdered instead. Why did officers want her to buy drugs and a gun? Because the weapons and firearms count against the target would add an additional five years to the sentence, yet clearly adding a weapon to the mix increased the risks the CI faced and may have even tipped off the target that something was odd.
Sometimes the overzealous police officers fail to properly take into account the age and sophistication of the confidential informant nor to adequately appraise the confidential informant as to the actual risks inherent in co-operating. Officers use the threat of harsh Florida drug sentencing laws and mimimum mandatory drug sentences to frighten young people into co-operating.
In Florida law under Rachel’s Law, named for a young lady whose life was cut short while working as a confidential informant, law enforcement officers must have special training, must tell potential confidential informants that even with the co-operation their sentence may not be reduced and must allow the confidential informant to contact Clearwater Criminal Lawyers before agreeing to co-operate.