Screen shot of Ezra Chowaiki of Chowaiki & Co.
Ezra Chowaiki allegedly owes nearly $3 million to Sotheby’s alone.
A New York art dealer is facing federal charges for allegedly defrauding elite clients out of millions of dollars. The US attorney has accused the dealer, Ezra Chowaiki, of wire fraud and the transport of stolen goods.
According to court papers, the scheme began in 2015 and entangled a number of well-known art-world figures, including the dealer Helly Nahmad and collector and Warhol muse “Baby Jane” Holzer.
The indictment, which was first reported by Bloomberg, alleges that Chowaiki sold his victims a stake in works of art that he did not own and sometimes sold shares that totaled more than 100 percent of the work’s value.