Vincent van Gogh
In 1984, this van Gogh drawing was reported stolen by an interior “designer to the stars” who worked extensively in the Hamptons in New York. The theft was reported to law enforcement and the victim obtained a generous payout from his insurance company. The object was recorded on a number of private and public databases as stolen.
In 2009, the drawing surfaced when a well-known New York City art dealer was cataloging the collection for a major New York City property developer. Attorney Christopher A. Marinello was hired by the Insurer to recover the drawing. Reviewing the provenance and every sale prior to 2009, it was discovered that the drawing was sold in 1984…by the insured who had collected the insurance proceeds.
Working with the FBI, Marinello set up a sting operation whereby the greedy Insured thought he could buy back the “stolen” van Gogh by simply reimbursing his Insurer. With the drawing now worth ten times the payout amount, the Insured was hoping for another big gain. Instead, he was met by two FBI agents who charged him with insurance fraud. The drawing was returned to the possessor by the FBI despite the Insurance Company’s title claim.
In 2015, the possessor passed away and his estate attempted to sell the van Gogh at a major New York City auction house.Refusing to give up, Marinello stopped the sale and negotiated a confidential resolution of the title claim with the attorney for the estate of the possessor.Everyone was happy, except the alleged theft victim.