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Sands Point art dealer eyed in FBI probe

A longtime art dealer from Sands Point is "dazed" and "devastated" by a federal probe into whether she marketed forgeries of high-profile works, her attorney said.

Glafira Rosales is "a subject" -- not the sole target -- of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office, said her lawyer, Anastasios Sarikas. He declined specifics but said Sunday that his client never knowingly sold fake paintings.

"I think this is going to destroy her," Sarikas said of the impact on Rosales' career and reputation. "She's shocked and utterly devastated."

A spokesman for the FBI in Manhattan said Sunday that he could not comment. The New York Times first reported the investigation Saturday.

The Times said authorities were examining numerous pieces sold by Rosales over several years and described as the works of modern art legends such as Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell, but suspected of being sophisticated forgeries.

Rosales, 55, used prestigious Manhattan brokers and galleries to sell many of the pieces in question, the Times reported. A London collector purchased one, sold as Pollock's "Untitled 1950," for $17 million in 2007.

In February, another collector sued one of Rosales' brokers over the $650,000 sale of a purported Motherwell painting. According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the broker then sued Rosales, saying she provided the painting without revealing its owner, and shared liability.

A settlement was reached in October, with Rosales agreeing to pay a combined total of $765,221 to various parties, according to court documents. The painting was placed in escrow, to be returned to the broker with an "unalterable stamp" marking it "Not an authentic work by Robert Motherwell but a forgery," court papers said.

Rosales didn't return a call Sunday. She has sold art for nearly 20 years, living and working in the Great Neck area.

Her attorney said that she remains in limbo while awaiting the federal investigation.

"I don't know what path the authorities are going to choose," Sarikas said. "Right now, she's just dazed from all this . . . and it's been very difficult for her."

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