Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Pursuit Brings Clenched Fist of FBI and Gardner Museum Crashing Down With God's Own Thunder

Robert “The Cook” Gentile, the geriatric gangster suspected of hiding information about the world’s richest art heist — the robbery of $500 million in masterworks from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — will likely serve about a year more in prison after being sentenced Tuesday on federal gun charges.
U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny told Gentile, 81, he was giving him a break because of Gentile’s age and declining health.
Chatigny sentenced Gentile to a total of 54 months, but gave him credit for the nearly three years he served in jail while awaiting sentencing. Gentile’s lawyer said that with credit for good time, he is likely to be out in just less than 11 months.
Gentile gave an emotional plea for leniency and a sentence that would have allowed him to return quickly to his ill wife, who he said may have only a matter of months to live.

“I wish you could see it in your heart to let me go home to my wife and maybe give her another six months” Gentile told Chatigny.
He said his experience in prison has been horrifying. Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said Gentile had been hospitalized three times during his most recent incarceration.
“Anybody else would have killed themselves,” he said. “They didn’t kill me, they just chained me. It made me a cripple. It made me an old man. I can’t walk.”
His voice cracking, he said “my wife, that’s all I want. Thanks.”
“You have some good points,” Chatigny told Gentile. “Your love for your wife is genuine. You have worked in lawful occupations. but at the same time, you have continued to engage in serious criminal conduct and you don’t really accept responsibility for it. It’s evident to me, this is just who you are.”
In a long argument for leniency, McGuigan read from a sealed legal memo that contained excerpts from secret recordings of Gentile made by two FBI cooperating witnesses. McGuigan said the excerpts show that Gentile repeatedly told the FBI through its informants that he did not know where the stolen art was and could not get his hands on it.
The recordings, which are sealed and not available to the public, suggest that Gentile may have once had access to the paintings but lost that access when an associate of his in Boston died and Gentile went to prison.
McGuigan cited the following excerpts:
- “My friend died and everything disappeared … I have to go find the paintings. You are asking for something that is not even feasible. I have to go out and find the paintings.”
- “I got to go to Boston to see that guy. I’d only be guessing.”
- “I’ve been away a long time and I don’t know where it is. All the people I used to run with in Boston are dead. I’d have to go to Boston to see that guy.”
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham accused McGuigan of “selective reporting of the facts. He said he would not disclose excerpts of the sealed recordings that the government provided to the court in rebuttal.
Gentile, an 81-year old mafia soldier with a criminal record dating from the Eisenhower administration, has been locked in a stubborn stand-off with FBI agents since 2010, when the widow of one of his mob partners told agents she had been present a decade or so earlier when her husband handed Gentile two of the stolen paintings.
The FBI has been charging Gentile with successive gun and drug crimes ever since, hoping — futilely, it has turned out — that the threat of prison would persuade him to divulge something that could help solve one of the the world’s great art mysteries. For his part, Gentile has been mute, insisting he knows nothing about the heist or the missing art — in spite of old age, dire health, lousy prison food, a $10 million reward, failed lie detector tests and a growing body of evidence to the contrary, much of it consisting of his admissions recorded by FBI informants.
Chatigny sentenced Gentile Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Hartford on two sets of gun charges. In the first, Gentile is accused of selling a loaded handgun to a convicted murderer who was cooperating with the FBI. In the second, his is accused, as a convicted felon, of illegally possessing two handguns, a machine gun and a silencer. He has pleaded guilty to all the charges.

Art Heist Suspect Sentenced on Gun Charges

A reputed mobster who is a "person of interest" in an infamous art Heist in 1990 was sentenced on Tuesday in another case.

MANCHESTER, CT — A reputed mobster who is a "person of interest" in an infamous art Heist in 1990 was sentenced on Tuesday to four-and-a-half years in prison on gun charges, a leading prosecutor said.
John H. Durham, United States attorney for the District of Connecticut, said that Ronert Gentile, 81, of Manchester, was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to 54 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for firearm offenses, and for violating the conditions of his supervised release from a prior federal conviction.
Judge Chatigny ordered GENTILE to serve the first six months of his supervised release in home confinement.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on Feb. 10, 2012, Gentile was arrested after a federal investigation had revealed involvement in the illegal distribution of prescription narcotics, Durham said.
Subsequent court-authorized searches of Gentile's Manchester residence resulted in the seizure of 200 Percocet tablets packaged for distribution, two .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers, a .22 caliber North American Arms revolver, a .22 caliber derringer, a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun, numerous rounds of ammunition, boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells, five handgun silencers, other items and approximately $22,000 in cash. according to case details.

Gentle entered a guilty plea to federal drug and firearm offenses and, on May 9, 2013, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
On March 2, 2015, while on supervised release, Gentile sold a .38 Colt Cobra revolver, which was loaded with five rounds of Smith & Wesson .38 Special ammunition, for $1,000 to an individual he knew to be a convicted felon, Durham said.
The sale occurred at Gentile's residence, where the revolver had been hidden in a couch cushion, the prosecutor indicated.
Gentile was arrested on a criminal complaint on April 17, 2015, and was ordered detained. On April 28, 2015, a grand jury returned an indictment charging him with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and sale of a firearm to a convicted felon.
On May 2, 2016, FBI special agents executed an unrelated federal search warrant at Gentile's Manchester residence and seized a .22 caliber Browning semi-automatic pistol, a 9mm Walther semi-automatic pistol, a .380 caliber RPB Industries, M11-Al semi-automatic pistol, and an unregistered silencer, Durham said.
On May 24, 2016, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Gentile with one count of possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possession of an unregistered silencer.
On April 6, 2017, Gentile pleaded guilty to one count of possession of ammunition by a previously convicted felon, one count of possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possession of an unregistered silencer. He also admitted that he violated the terms and conditions of his supervised release, Durham said.
Judge Chatigny sentenced Gentile to 42 months of imprisonment for the three firearm offenses, and a consecutive 12 months of imprisonment for violating the conditions of his supervised release.
Gentile has been detained since his arrest on April 17, 2015, Durham said.
Gentile is a reputed mobster who the FBI acknowledges is a person of interest in the daring theft of classic paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, a heist valued at $500 million by authorities.
One art historian at the University of Connecticut, when asked what the value might be, hinted that the paintings are priceless in some respects.
See more about the daring art heist here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Stolen Art Watch,Relentless In His Pursuit of The Gardner Art, Anthony Amore Thwarts Gardner Museum Fraud.

West Virginia man admits to fraud tied to Boston art heist
BOSTON (Reuters) - A West Virginia man pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges he fraudulently offered to sell some of the $500 million in artwork that was stolen from a Boston museum in 1990 and never recovered, even though he had no access to the paintings.
Todd Desper, 48, entered his plea in Boston federal court to wire fraud charges related to a scheme in which he offered to sell two paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the largest art heist in U.S. history.
Those paintings were Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” and Vermeer’s “The Concert,” which were among the 13 artworks taken in a theft that remains one of the highest-profile unsolved crimes in Boston history.
Desper is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The charge of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Prosecutors said Desper, using the alias “Mordokwan,” from November 2016 to January 2017 offered the paintings for sale to foreign buyers using Craigslist and directed those interested to use encrypted email accounts to communicate with him.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the museum received tips about the paintings from people interested in helping recover the artwork and who were seeking a multi-million dollar award the museum was offering, prosecutors said.
At the direction of law enforcement, the museum’s security director engaged in communications with Desper, who told him to send a cashier’s check for $5 million to a location in West Virginia, prosecutors said.
But they said Desper, in fact, did not have the paintings and was instead engaged in a fraudulent scheme targeting foreign art buyers. Authorities arrested Desper on May 22, 2017, at his home in Beckley, West Virginia.
The Gardner heist was carried out by two men dressed in police uniforms who apparently overpowered a night security guard who had buzzed them in. The combined value of the 13 works of art is estimated at $500 million.
Due to a quirk in Gardner’s will, the empty frames that held the paintings remain on the walls of the museum she built to house the collection she amassed with her husband.
The art must be displayed the way it was during her lifetime, preventing curators from hanging new works, and leaving a constant reminder of the theft.

Man linked to Gardner museum art heist found competent, sentencing set

FILE - In this April 20, 2015, file photo, Robert Gentile is brought into the federal courthouse in a wheelchair for a continuation of a hearing in Hartford, Conn.  (Cloe Poisson/The Courant via AP, File)

In this April 20, 2015, file photo, Robert Gentile is brought into the federal courthouse in a wheelchair for a continuation of a hearing in Hartford, Conn. 

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed mobster who authorities believe is the last surviving person of interest in the largest art heist in history has been found competent to proceed to sentencing in an unrelated weapons case.
Eighty-one-year-old Robert Gentile is now scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27 in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut.
Prosecutors have said they believe the Manchester resident has information about the still-unsolved 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Thieves stole an estimated $500 million worth of artwork, including works by Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer.
Gentile's lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said Tuesday that Gentile was found competent during a recent psychiatric exam. The review was ordered because Gentile said at his sentencing hearing that he could not remember having pleaded guilty.