Two bothers, the “Dumb and Dumber” of Spain, tried to sell a fake Goya to a Sheikh, only to be paid in fake money.
Back in 2002, they’d been themselves defrauded when they originally bought the fake Goya painting “Portrait of don Antonio María Esquivel”.
It was actually painted by a contemporary of Goya (1740’s-1820’s).
The insy weensy giveaway? A certain medal of honor that’s blatantly on the subject’s chest in the original is missing.
The brothers were able to get out of the deal with only a €20,000 loss (the deposit they put down).
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
They immediately tried to offload the fake Goya to somebody even more gullible than themselves, only to fall prey to the art market version of the Nigerian prince scam.
- Pay a “mysterious Italian middleman” €300,000 to introduce them to a Sheikh.
- The Sheikh doesn’t exist.
- The middleman hands over real money but switches it for photocopies.
- The middleman disappears with the €300,000.
- The brothers act guilty enough to be intercepted by French customs.
The con artists realized they had been tricked when they tried to deposit 1.7 million Swiss francs (€1.5 million) in a Geneva bank and were told that the banknotes were photocopies.
You can see their quality in the image above!
Our conned con men were later arrested in Spain for fraud.
The fake Goya painting—which was found in one of the brothers’ houses—was confiscated by police.
There’s a Spanish phrase for this : “cornudo y apaleado” – “cuckolded and beaten up”.
For more, see Artnet