The U.S. District Court for Southern New York sentenced Robert Newland on 19 September to 20 months in prison for fraud associated with his dealings with disgraced art dealer Inigo Philbrick.
Hoping for leniency in the sentencing, Newland’s attorney Roger Burlingame described how Newland had been impressed by Philbrick’s success, partnered with him, then made the ‘fatal’ error of staying with the business even after he started ‘noticing inconsistencies’. The multimillion dollar fraudulent enterprise mainly involved Philbrick selling shares in a single piece of art to multiple investors resulting in the sold shares totalling more than 100 percent, but also selling artworks without the knowledge of the people who actually owned them and providing fake documents that inflated the value of the artworks he dealt in. His double-dealings valued in total more than 86 million dollars.
Philbrick was captured and arrested on the South Pacific island Vanuatu in June 2020. He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence but is set to be released next year. Newland was indicted in March 2022 and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September 2022. His sentencing comes after two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. The Art Newspaper reports the Manhattan judge – who also sentenced Philbrick – ended the hearing by addressing Newland directly. ‘You’re going to be OK. I don’t think I’ll ever see you again. Good luck to you.’