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Los Angeles art dealer gets jail for bilking clients out of $1 million
May 23, 2017 / 1:06 AM / 7 months ago

Los Angeles art dealer gets jail for bilking clients out of $1 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former Los Angeles art dealer who prosecutors say embezzled more than $1 million from clients including former Walt Disney Co President Michael Ovitz was sentenced on Monday to six months in jail.

FILE PHOTO: Michael Ovitz, co-founder of Creative Artists Agency and former Walt Disney Company president arrives for the the annual Allen and Co. media conference Sun Valley, Idaho July 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Perry Rubenstein, 63, was also ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution to Ovitz and a second victim, Michael Salke, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rubenstein pleaded guilty in March to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement in connection with the sale of art by Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince.

Prosecutors say that in 2012 Rubenstein sold a Murakami art on behalf of Salke but failed to turn over all of the proceeds to him.

The following year, Rubenstein sold two Prince paintings for Ovitz but never turned over the money to his client, according to prosecutors.

An attorney for Rubenstein could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Rubenstein was a high-profile art dealer in Manhattan before moving to the West Coast, where celebrities such as rocker Neil Young and artist Shepard Fairey attended the opening of his new gallery.

Ovitz, 70, helped found Creative Artists Agency in 1975 and served as president of the Walt Disney in the late 1990s.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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