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LA art dealer sentenced in theft from high-profile clients

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/22/2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former California art dealer has been sentenced to jail for stealing more than $1 million from owners of paintings, including former Disney executive Michael Ovitz.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says 63-year-old Perry Rubenstein was ordered Monday to serve six months in jail, three years of probation and pay $1.1 million to Ovitz and another victim, collector Michael Salke.

A probation violation could lead to a 16-month prison term.

Rubenstein pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement on March 30.

According to prosecutors, Rubenstein sold a Takashi Murakami painting on behalf of Salke in 2012 but failed to turn over the full amount to him. The next year, Rubenstein sold two Richard Prince paintings for Ovitz but never gave Ovitz the proceeds.

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