Glafira Rosales, a Sands Point art dealer, faces charges of...

Glafira Rosales, a Sands Point art dealer, faces charges of wire fraud and money laundering in what federal authorities say was a $30 million scheme to sell counterfeit paintings she claimed were by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. Credit: The New York Times

High-end Sands Point art dealer Glafira Rosales pleaded guilty Monday to a massive fraud involving the sale of as much as $80 million in forged modernist paintings purportedly by masters such as Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko.

Rosales, 57, admitted in a brief proceeding in federal court in Manhattan that from the 1990s until 2009 she sold dozens of expensive expressionist pieces to two well-known Manhattan galleries, Julian Weissman Fine Art and Knoedler Gallery.

"I agreed with others . . . to make false representations as to the authenticity and provenance of those works," Rosales told U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla, speaking softly and dabbing away tears and sniffles with a tissue at the end. "These works of art were actually fakes created by an individual residing in Queens."

The Queens artist has not been identified in court papers and Rosales did not name him, but prosecutors have said she met him selling art on the street, and paid him several thousand dollars per painting to create the sophisticated forgeries in his home studio.

She sold at least 63 of the forgeries for $33 million to the galleries, claiming that they were previously unknown original works inherited by an anonymous Swiss collector or acquired by a Spanish collector who were using her as their agent.

The galleries in turn sold them to buyers for $80 million, according to her indictment. Several buyers, whose complaints triggered an investigation, have filed civil suits over the con in federal court.

Rosales pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and tax crimes. She faces up to 99 years in prison, but has agreed to cooperate with the government in hopes of earning leniency.

Prosecutors have said that more arrests are expected, and described Rosales' boyfriend, a Spanish citizen, as a co-conspirator. Failla did not set a date for her sentencing.

Under her plea agreement, Rosales is also required to make restitution of up to $81 million, and forfeit her property at 21 Elm Court in Sands Point, her personal art collection and $33 million.

Rosales, a Mexican-American, became a citizen in 2009. Prosecutor Jason Hernandez said she could also face "denaturalization" proceedings and deportation.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Latest videos

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME