Nancy Wiener, a prominent New York antiquities dealer, was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 18 on accusations of trafficking in illegal and stolen antiquities. She is now facing felony charges of criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy. Authorities believe that she illegally sold millions of dollars' worth of stolen artifacts obtained from international looters and smuggled into the country.
Investigators spent months interviewing confidential informants and examining emails and documents. They say she, along with several co-conspirators, has been collaborating with international smugglers to traffic in illegal artifacts since at least 1999. The accused is believed to have created fraudulent documents to hide the unlawful history of the items.
The complaint against the defendant alleges she used a very thorough and detailed laundering process to purchase, restore and resell the illegally imported artifacts. The procedure included falsified ownership documentation insinuating a fake pedigree, restoration services to repair and conceal damage to the objects sustained during prohibited excavations and falsification or forgery of documentation to make it appear as though it predated decrees outlawing the international shipping of looted antiquities. Authorities raided the woman's Manhattan gallery in March 2016.
After surrendering voluntarily to police and being arrested on felony charges, the accused posted $25,000 bail and has since been released. While this is clearly a high stakes case, with millions of dollars involved, residents of New York who have been accused of felony charges of any degree would benefit from the representation of a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can provide practical guidance throughout the legal proceedings and fight vigorously on behalf of the defendant.
Source: The New York Times, "Prominent Antiquities Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Artifacts", Tom Mashberg, Dec. 21, 2016