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NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1993) Pages: 16-20,56- 57
A J Del Piano
Date Published
7 pages
Crime in the art and antiquities markets has received only minimal attention in the United States, despite the enormous amount of money involved and the extent of the criminal activity.
Types of crimes in the art and antiquities markets are as varied as the activities of organized crime syndicates, and art crimes are often associated with drug trafficking. Art crimes include mail fraud, burglary, forgery, credit card scams, theft by insiders such as art dealers and museum officials, insurance fraud, and black market trading. Art theft represents a worldwide problem, with the annual trade in stolen art estimated to be between $860 million and $2.6 billion. Crime in the arts and antiquities markets has become so prevalent that the Internal Revenue Service subjects stolen art to Federal estate tax. Because there are many types of crimes and offenders, law enforcement officials find it difficult to control art crimes. Criminal remedies are available at the Federal and State levels, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act can be used effectively for both criminal and civil prosecutions. RICO has tremendous potential for prosecuting and preventing art crimes and for compensating art crime victims, but only a few RICO cases have involved art crimes. The National Stolen Property Act prohibits the transport, receipt, concealment, and sale of goods worth $5,000 or more while knowing the goods to be stolen or taken by fraud. Art crime perpetrators can also be convicted under the Hobbs Act which prohibits interference with commerce by robbery. International treaties and conventions to facilitate the apprehension of art criminals are noted.


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