Man Faces 14 Months in Prison for Selling 145 Fake Peter Max Paintings

On Wednesday, a Connecticut man was sentenced to 14 months in prison for selling 145 fraudulent paintings by Pop artist Peter Max, the Art Newspaper first reported.

Nicholas P. Hatch was arrested for selling counterfeit art in May 2023 and plead guilty to mail fraud. He was sentenced in US District Court in Connecticut and ordered to restitute the $248,600 he made from selling fake paintings to 43 buyers.

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Per a the criminal complaint filed upon his arrest, Hatch executed his scheme through his company Hatch Estate Services, which advertised prints purportedly made by Max. In reality, the employees at the company had added brushstrokes and phony signatures to reproductions to lend them the appearance of authenticity. The FBI’s New Haven unit began its investigation in December 2021 following a tip from one of Hatch’s employees about suspected mail fraud. 

Hatch reportedly carried out his scheme using several aliases—such as Alex Cassellucci, Jeremy Ruiz and Liam—and a slew of shell companies including Hatch Estate Services, Lions Gate Auctions and Indian Head Auctions.

The fraudulent Max paintings were sold between $1,325 and $2,833, and some even were accompanied by forged certificates of authenticity. If the works were legitimate, it would have been steal: authentic prints and paintings by Max typically fetch between $10,000 to $20,000 at auction. The artist, who is 86 and suffering from dementia, has been embroiled in a separate legal dispute involving lawsuits filed by his daughter over the rights to his legacy.

On June 17, Hatch will begin his 14-month prison sentence, with three years of supervised release.


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