A Manhattan art dealer who catered to celebrities and artists' heirs admitted bilking nearly $100 million from clients through bogus art investments and sales of pieces he didn't own.
Lawrence B. Salander pleaded guilty Thursday to grand larceny and scheming to defraud. The case swept-up tennis star John McEnroe and the estate of actor Robert De Niro's father as victims.
Salander admitted swindling McEnroe out of about $2 million and Robert De Niro Sr.'s estate out of more than $1 million. They're among many other victims.
Prosecutors say the art broker used the stolen money for such personal luxuries as private jet travel, a 66-acre country estate and to finance a self-created campaign own the Renaissance art market.
The 60-year-old Salander faces a range of six to 18 years in prison. He's due back in court for a pre-sentencing status update May 20.
The now-closed Salander-O'Reilly Galleries LLC operated for nearly 30 years before a judge shuttered the gallery in 2007.
Published at 2:48 PM EDT on Mar 18, 2010
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York