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Art Dealer Mary Boone Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Tax Fraud

The veteran New York gallerist pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion last year

Mary Boone, 2009. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan

Mary Boone, 2009. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan

New York art dealer Mary Boone has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing false tax returns. Her sentence also comes with one year of supervised release, and 180 hours of community service.

Boone’s lawyer reportedly said that they were ‘disappointed’ by the decision, telling Artnet News that it was probable that Boone would have to close her gallery. Boone’s lawyer said that they did not plan to appeal.

The vereran art dealer, who first opened her gallery in New York in 1977, championed artists including Julian Schnabel and Jean-Michel Basquiat – she was described by New York Magazine in 1982 as ‘the New Queen of the Art Scene’.

Boone pleaded guilty to two counts of of tax fraud last September, describing it as ‘the worst day of my life’ in a statement: ‘I have learned from my mistake and I am working very hard to put it behind me.’

Boone faced up to six years in jail. Authorities charged Boone with reporting a business loss of USD$52,000 for the 2011 fiscal year when in fact she had made a profit of USD$3.7 million. Boone also reported USD$1.6 milion in personal expenses, including a USD$800,000 upgrade to her Manhattan residence, as business deductions.

Last month, lawyers for Boone submitted a psychological evaluation to a Manhattan federal court, citing childhood trauma, and asking that she be spared incarceration. They pointed to poverty and instablity in Boone’s early life, including the loss of her father and financial problems: ‘Behind the facade of success and strength lies a fragile and, at times, broken individual,’ they wrote.

Boone’s lawyers also submitted character statements from several prominent art world professionals, including the artist Ai Weiwei, who described her as ‘caring with a kind heart’ in his reference letter to the judge.

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