Artist Christian Rosa indicted by FBI for Selling Forged Raymond Pettibon Works, Flees Country
Via an Anonymous Source, Posted by

As originally reported by artnet, artist Christian Rosa Weinberger, known as "Christian Rosa," is in some trouble. The artist had previously been a protégé of famed artist Raymond Pettibon. Meanwhile, over the past four years, high end art dealers and art collectors have become suspicious of several Pettibon works appearing on the market. The newer works seemed to be slightly out of character from Pettibon's usual work (with the colors of waves- a usual feature in Pettibon's work- being somewhat off-color. The "Pettibon" signature also appeared to be "practiced" and not done in a usual rapid signature. The rumor was that Rosa "finished" unfinished Pettibon works and tried to pass them off as Pettibon originals. He is accused of selling four works, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.

After Pettibon was informed of the alleged forgeries, he alerted the authorities. Around that point, the FBI started an investigation. It appeared that the suspect paintings had parts erased in order to make room for "Pettibon style text." Colors that Pettibon doesn't use were also added. After that, Artsnet ran a news piece on the accusation. Allegedly, Rosa emailed a co-conspirator and stated “the secret is out.” In another e-mail, Rposa allegedly stated "“I am not trying to get busted, so that’s why it’s takeing [sic] longer,” in regards to the delay of a sale of one of the works in question.

The FBI then indicted Rosa. Shortly after the indictment, Rosa fled the country. Rosa's whereabouts are unknown, though he does have Austrian and Brazilian citizenship. He is charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, one count of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. The wire fraud charges carry a maximum prison term of 20 years. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.