The owner of a longtime Manhattan gallery said in court that while some customers thought they were buying ancient items, they were actually modern knockoffs, just made to look old.
For decades customers interested in all manner of rarities — ancient coins, sarcophagus masks, prehistoric fossils — went to Mehrdad Sadigh’s gallery near the Empire State Building in Manhattan. The items came with certificates of authenticity, and the gallery’s website was filled with accolades from customers who appreciated the gracious touch he brought to his business.
“Everything I have acquired from you over the years has more than exceeded my expectations,” one testimonial read.
But Mr. Sadigh acknowledged Tuesday during a sentencing hearing that much about his antiquities business was an elaborate scam.
“Over the course of three decades I have sold thousands of fraudulent antiquities to countless unsuspecting collectors,” he said, according to the statement he read in State Supreme Court in Manhattan,