NYC antique dealer admits he sold thousands of counterfeits for THREE DECADES by mass-producing fake pieces in offices behind his showroom and by hiring a company to hide reviews on Google
- Mehrdad Sadigh, who has operated the Sadigh Gallery in Midtown Manhattan since 1982, admits selling thousands of fake artifacts over three decades
- To stay under the radar, Sadigh said he hired a company to remove Google searches about customer complaints and bury negative reviews.
- He also said he convinced people to write fake positive reviews about his store
- ‘I was driven by financial greed,’ he said in court during his admission of guilt
- During his August arrest, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said he was arguably the largest seller of fake artifacts in the US.
- He eventually pleaded guilty to seven felonies
A New York City antiques dealer admitted to selling thousands of counterfeits over three decades, mass-producing fakes in offices behind his downtown showroom, and hiring a company to hide negative Google reviews.
Mehrdad Sadigh appeared in the Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday to plead guilty to seven felonies. including forgery and grand theft.
“Over the course of three decades, I have sold thousands of fraudulent antiquities to countless unsuspecting collectors,” Sadigh said, according to a statement he read in court.
“All I can say is that I was driven by financial greed.”
Prosecutors allege Mehrdad Sadigh passed on fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers for decades
Prosecutors say Sadigh stored and manufactured fake items in rooms behind the gallery, which was on an upper floor of a Fifth Avenue building
Prosecutors seized thousands of fake artifacts stored in the back room of Sadigh’s Manhattan gallery
For decades, he allayed suspicion by hiring a company to bury customer complaints about fake antiques, remove negative reviews from Google searches, and get others excited about its store and products in fake reviews.
Sadigh was released after Tuesday’s hearing and will be sentenced on November 16.
In a criminal memorandum filed with the court, the prosecutor’s office requested that Sadigh be sentenced to five years’ probation and a ban on the sale of antiques.
Sadigh has operated the Midtown Manhattan store since 1982, selling what he claimed were ancient Anatolian, Babylonian, Byzantine, Greco-Roman, Mesopotamian, and Sumerian artifacts.
When he was arrested, Sadigh may have been the… largest seller of fake artifacts in the US, That’s what Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said.
But he was arrested in August when prosecutors in Vance’s office discovered Sadigh while investigating dealers selling stolen antiquities.
During the separate case, they were asked why they were ignoring “the man who sells all counterfeits,” Matthews Bogdanos, the head of the DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, told the New York Times in an earlier interview.
Prosecutors allege that for decades Sadigh passed on fake artifacts as ancient relics to unsuspecting customers, who believed they were adding rare treasures to their collections.
Members of the office of the DA and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found thousands more in rooms behind the gallery
Prosecutors said they found thousands of objects in the back rooms of the gallery that were treated to make them look old
His plan unraveled after he sold Undercover federal investigators found a gold pendant depicting Tutankhamun’s death mask and a marble portrait head of an ancient Roman woman for $4,000 each, prosecutors said.
After the sale, members of the DA’s office and Homeland Security Investigations visited the gallery and found hundreds of fake items lined up on shelves and display cases. Thousands more were discovered in rooms behind the gallery.
Investigators also found the tools Sadigh used to age the fake antiques, including varnish, sanders, spray paint and muddy fabrics.
Sadigh ran Sadigh Gallery in Midtown Manhattan from 1982