and His Company IMAGINART Sued
for Art Fraud
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> Art Crime > Authentication > Ben Valenty
and His Company "IMAGINART" Sued for ART FRAUD and More
Company "IMAGINART" Sued for ART FRAUD and More
Defendant [Ben] Valenty
is an individual who resides and works in Lake Forest, California.
Valenty is a self-proclaimed art expert, salesman and publisher.
Upon information and belief Valenty has a long and sordid past in the art sales and business industry, which was not disclosed to [Brian] Wells. --Complaint Brian Wells v. Benjamin "Ben" Valenty, et. al., at paragraph 1.2.
, Imaginart, sued for Art Fraud
On October 25, 2011, a lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington by Brian Wells, against Benjamin "Ben" Valenty and his respective companies for art fraud and conspiracy to defraud "by way of a complex scheme to misrepresent the authenticity and value of the artwork both verbally and in writing," among other serious allegations of fraud and deception.
The lawsuit (posted below in its entirety) against Valenty and his enterprise was filed by attorney, Zachary O. McIsaac of Ashbaugh Beale, P.C. in Seattle, Washington, which is the firm that is associating with the lead law firm on the case, Seyburn Kahn Ginn Bess & Serlin, PC., located in Southfield, Michigan.
Fine Art Registry
has located official court documents and verified media reports that Valenty
has a long and sordid history of being involved in many shady dealings in the visual art and coin industries.
As we have reported in the past, the art market is completely unregulated and as Fine Art Registry
has warned over the years, there are art dealers and other so-called self-proclaimed art professionals who take full advantage of the unwary and the unsophisticated art buyer.
We have concluded from our in depth investigation into Valenty
's deceptive and unfair business practices that he
[Valenty] has quite possibly bilked many, many art purchasers, along with the artists themselves out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not multi-millions -- and has made numerous grandiose and over-the-top promises and representations of returns on investment (ROI) that could never (and Valenty
knew would never) in a lifetime (or even two) be realized by the buyers who invested their hard-earned money into Valenty's so-called "million dollar opportunities.
Further, there are many more slick sales tactics used and extremely salacious representations made by Valenty
to prospective buyers which ultimately resulted in substantial sales of many art products that Valenty
either never delivered and/or the buyer never received the promised ROI.
The representations from the mouth of Valenty
and the few salesmen that work with him are astonishing on a variety of levels.
We will reveal some of the outrageous claims that Valenty
company representatives made to buyers in future articles.
We will also expose just how Valenty
works with his
artists -- many of them parents of minor children (aka "child prodigies") and adult artists as well, such a James Gill, who is old enough to know what is going on and should, quite frankly, know better.
Valenty claims to have "rediscovered" Gill and further represents that he
[Gill] was a contemporary of Andy Warhol's (even though Gill vanished for decades), thereby making the utterly strained and unsupported leap that since Warhol is selling for multi-millions at auction, then so too will Gill's work -- despite the fact there are absolutely no independent third-party auction records that even come close to supporting Valenty's outlandish and ridiculous representations to buyers regarding investment values on James Gill works of art.
The story forwarded by Valenty
about Gill's alleged historic and meteoric rise to sudden fame after literally disappearing from the art world for decades is beyond belief, but more on this in future articles.
It is clearly evident from the hundreds of pages of documents Fine Art Registry has received that Valenty
has not changed his
business practices nor has his
business model changed from the days when he
was caught red-handed bilking other unwary investors.
Documents we have reviewed show that Valenty cleverly wears all hats in his organizations (with a little bit of help from a few boiler room buddies like Mark Lewis and Ernie Lewis); incredibly, Valenty serves as an agent, promoter, broker, auctioneer, appraiser, authenticator, dealer, stock broker, and investment advisor in an effort to keep tight (if not arrogantly hapless) control on all aspects of his business model, presumably, so as to escape detection.
Like other spurious art dealers and peddlers we have reported on in the past, Valenty
seems to prey primarily on the unsophisticated and vulnerable art purchaser, representing and selling his
so-called "exclusive" art inventory and other Valenty products as investment opportunities of a lifetime.
For example, the lawsuit at paragraph 1.10 alleges:
Defendants [Valenty and Imaginart] solicited customers including Wells while explicitly acting in the capacity of a "stock broker" offering artwork "by one of the most important artists over the last half-century, just before they quintuple in value...and you could own this art virtually for free."
We have uncovered many of the shocking and incredible "investment" sales pitches that Valenty
has made over the course of several years that have presumably earned him a fortune off the backs of the unsuspecting like, Brian Wells.
Brian Wells v. Benjamin "Ben" Valenty, et. al., Lawsuit