MIDDLETOWN – On Nov. 9, 2017 State Police at Middletown were contacted by a local art dealer who reported that two pieces of forged art may have been sold through his auction house.
According to authorities, the dealer advised that he had brokered a deal with Gerrell Roberts, 39 of Buckeye, Arizona who was selling what he described as original Tom Wesselmann and Andy Warhol pieces that were a part of his family’s art collection.
Both pieces were sold to a private collector in Connecticut.
Shortly thereafter, the town of Wallkill art dealer was informed that the Wesselmann piece had been appraised and determined to be a forgery, said police.
The Warhol piece is still being examined.
The local art dealer was also in possession of two additional pieces of art from Roberts, a Jean-Michel Basquiat, “The Red King”, and a Moise Kisling, “Sophie”.
Both have been determined to be forgeries, said authorities.
At the direction of State Police, the local art dealer contacted Roberts and advised him that the pieces had sold for $298,000 and that he would need to travel to New York to take payment.
On Jan. 5, 2018, Gerrell Roberts flew to New York believing he was collecting a check for $298,000.
He was arrested by State Police at Stewart Airport.
Roberts has been charged with Grand Larceny 3rd Degree (felony) and Attempted Grand Larceny 2nd Degree. (felony)
He was arraigned in the Town of Wallkill Court and remanded to the Orange County Jail in lieu of $90,000 cash bail or $200,000 secured bond.