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Former art broker jailed for stealing millions of dollars from sales of famous artwork

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr, thanked the City of London Police, and in particular, Detective Sergeant Ian Kellaway, for their assistance with the investigation into Timothy Sammons, 63, a former art sales agent operating in New York and London.

On Tuesday 30 July 2019, District Attorney Vance announced the sentencing of Sammons to four-to-12 years in prison for stealing at least $10 million dollars through a criminal scheme involving the sale of valuable artwork.

A few week earlier (Tuesday July 2 2019) Sammons had pleaded guilty to all fifteen counts in the New York Supreme Court indictment against him, including Grand Larceny in the First and Second Degrees and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.

The investigation had criminality taking place in both London and New York City. The City of London Police were instrumental in assisting the New York County District Attorney's Office (DANY) to obtain a significant amount of important evidence based in the UK, including business and financial records.

In addition, the City of London Police supported the investigation by interviewing victims and witnesses, and also in the arrest and extradition of the Sammons, who is a British national. Officers helped transport Sammons in custody to New York to face the charges.

Commander Karen Baxter, National Police Coordinator for Economic Crime at the City of London Police, said:

“The City of London Police strives to build and maintain positive relationships with international partners all across the globe, and the force is proud of its ongoing partnership with American authorities, including the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DANY).
"This case is a great example of how effective these relationships, and the collaboration that stems from them, can be in tackling fraud and bringing criminals to justice no matter where in the world they are.” 

Between 2010 and 2015, Sammons brokered the sale of multiple pieces of art on behalf of his clients at auctions and private sales, but failed to turn over the corresponding proceeds of those sales to the owners. 

In many cases, Sammons misled his victims about the timing of the sales or failed entirely to inform them that their artwork had been purchased. When victims inquired about the status of their artwork, the defendant responded by asking them to be patient or ignored them entirely. 

In other instances, Sammons used the proceeds from the sale of artwork owned by one victim to pay debts owed to other victims. He also used victims’ artwork as collateral to obtain personal loans from a financing company based in New York, and when he failed to repay these debts, many of the works were sold at discounted prices.
Sammons used the proceeds of the sales of the art personal expenses, including first-class travel, hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to his American Express Centurion Card, and expensive private club memberships.

In total, Sammons stole between $10 million and $30 million from more than four victims in the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand through the scheme.

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