Film News

Robert De Niro victim of New York art scam

Actor Robert DeNiro arrives to the premiere of "Baby Mama," the first film of the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Several paintings by actor Robert De Niro’s late father were sold without the actor’s permission as part of an art scam by a New York gallery, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said on Tuesday.

Art dealer Lawrence Salander, 59, was indicted on additional charges for stealing $5 million from several estates on Tuesday after he was arrested in March for orchestrating a sophisticated $88-million art investment scam that also duped former tennis champion John McEnroe and Bank of America.

Salander and other dealers at his New York gallery sold the works by Robert De Niro Sr., an abstract Expressionist painter who died of cancer in 1993 aged 71, and did not pay out the majority of the sales to his estate, according to the charges.

As a result of the scam, De Niro Sr.’s estate lost more than $1 million, the DA’s office said.

Other victims relating to the additional charges include the Lachaise Foundation, who consigned the works of French-American sculptor Gaston Lachaise, as well as the estate of Elie Nadelman, an American sculptor who died in 1946.

Robert De Niro has organized exhibitions of his father’s works around the world and has said he keeps many of his works at home.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Michelle Nichols and Editing by Sandra Maler