Once considered a young rising star in the gallery world, art dealer Inigo Philbrick was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges totaling $86 million. The sentence is less than the recommended minimum of just over ten years. philbrick
has been imprisoned since November 2020, when US authorities arrested him on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, from where he fled. Manhattan District Court Judge Sidney H. Stein ruled that the two years the dealer has already served in prison will count as time served toward his sentence. Among the charges against Philbrick were that he sold more than 100% ownership of artwork to multiple investors; that he sold works or gave them as collateral for loans without the knowledge of their co-owners; that he used false documents to artificially inflate the value of various works of art; and that he used a stolen identity.
Multiple sources reported that London-born Philbrick, son of Harry Philbrick, former director of Ridgefield, Connecticut’s Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, seemed genuinely remorseful at his sentencing. Admitting that his actions were motivated by “vanity and greed,” the dealer dropped his prepared statement midway through the proceedings to claim, “The only goal I have is to make the people who believed in me whole.” “. Among those defrauded by Philbrick are White Cube’s Jay Jopling, who gave him his start as an intern and also funded the disgraced dealer’s now-shuttered Miami gallery. Although Philbrick was ordered to confiscate $86 million and two paintings currently in his possession – one by Christopher Wool and the other by Wade Guyton – his victims, some of whom were defrauded of dozens of millions of dollars, get all their assets back. lost assets.
“Inigo Philbrick grew his supposedly successful art business by collateralizing and reselling fractional shares in high-dollar contemporary art,” Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, his success was built on outright lies, including hidden ownership interests, forged documents, and even a made-up art collector.”