SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Two men were charged Wednesday in federal court with selling more than $500,000 worth of counterfeit paintings over the Internet, including works by Edgar Degas, Milton Avery and Willem de Kooning.

Anthony A. Marrone, 46, of Syracuse, and William S. Yager, 53, of Fairport, appeared before U.S. Magistrate David Peebles on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and conspiracy to launder the proceeds of their crimes, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Fletcher.

Fletcher said federal investigators had recovered 45 pieces of art, including paintings, drawings and pastels. Investigators have confirmed so far that 36 were counterfeits and expect the rest will be fake, too, she said.

“This is just a small part of what’s out there. It’s easy to believe we are talking hundreds of victims, nationally and internationally,” she said.

Investigators already have identified victims from Japan, Germany and Canada, she said.

Fletcher said Marrone and Yager “intentionally misrepresented these works as authentic, guaranteed 100 percent works of art” while selling them on online auction sites, including e-Bay.

The indictment accused the pair of carrying out their fraudulent scheme from 1999 until present.

Yager owns Roselawn Gallery in Rochester, Fletcher said.

If convicted, each man faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and fines of up to $500,000.



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