MIAMI – Palm Beach art dealer Daniel Elie Bouaziz was sentenced on June 1 to 27 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for laundering money derived from his scheme to sell counterfeit artwork. U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon also ordered Bouaziz to pay a $15,000 fine. The restitution hearing is set for August 16.
Bouaziz was the owner of art galleries, including Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli, located at 226A and 230 Worth Avenue, respectively, in tony Palm Beach, Florida. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District Court of Florida, Bouaziz “knowingly engaged in and attempted to engage in a monetary transaction, by, through, and to, a financial institution, affecting interstate and foreign commerce, in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000, such property having been derived from the unlawful sale of counterfeit art, using means of interstate commerce to carry out the sale and transfer of proceeds.”
On October 25, 2021, Bouaziz sold counterfeit art to a customer, including pieces purportedly by artist Andy Warhol, out of his Palm Beach art galleries. Bouaziz had told the customer that the works that he was selling, for between $75,000 and $240,000, were authentic, original Warhol pieces, and that some of the pieces were signed by the famed pop artist. Relying upon these false and fraudulent representations, the customer purchased artwork from Bouaziz, making a $200,000 down payment. The money was deposited into Bouaziz’s account, then co-mingled funds were wired to other accounts, to include an account controlled by Bouaziz.
Reportedly, Bouaziz also sold cheap reproductions misrepresented as being the authentic work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein, sealing each purchase with a stamped signature reading “Daniel Bouaziz, Certified International Fine Art Appraiser.”
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Cannon.
After completing his prison sentence, Bouaziz, who has both French and Israeli citizenship, faces the possibility of deportation.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of art fraud is asked to contact the FBI’s Art Crime Team at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Related court documents and information pertaining to the Daniel Elie Bouaziz case may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov under case number 22-cr-80099.