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Art Dealer Perry Rubenstein Sentenced to Six Months in Jail

Art dealer Perry Rubenstein, who was arrested in Santa Monica last April on three felony counts of embezzlement and grand theft, and pleaded no contest to two of those counts in March 2017, will now spend six months in a “pay to stay” jail, where inmates spend $100 a day to be incarcerated comfortably, writes Gene Maddus of Variety. The dealer would have served only a fraction of his sentence had he been assigned to a state prison or county jail.

Michael Ovitz, the former president of the Walt Disney Company and cofounder of Creative Artists Agency, along with collector Michael Salke, filed the charges against Rubenstein. The dealer was accused of not giving Ovitz the proceeds from the sale of two Richard Prince works, valued at more than $1 million. There was also a Willem de Kooning that Rubenstein said he sold to a buyer in Mexico for $500,000, which again, Ovitz never received the profits from. And the dealer allegedly sold a work by Takashi Murakami on Salke’s behalf, but lied about the amount of money he received for it and did not fully compensate Salke after the transaction.

After he was sentenced, Rubenstein gave Salke a cashier’s check for $167,500. He was also ordered to pay $975,000 to the Ovitz family trust. But, since Rubenstein filed for bankruptcy, it seems unlikely that the Ovitz clan will receive the money.