American Greed Episode 47: The Art of the Steal | The Folsom Felon

Case File: The Art of the Steal | The Folsom Felon

Case 1: The Art of the Steal

  • New York City is the capital of the art world. It's a multi-billion dollar industry where a single painting can fetch more than a hundred million dollars. Larry Salander runs one of the most prestigious galleries in town. Salander's art gallery is palatial and impressive. His clients are hedge fund billionaires and celebrities including Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and John McEnroe. Salander appears to be a first-class art dealer. Investors and clients become suspicious. Collectors sue the dealer for missing artwork and money. Is Salander selling their paintings without their knowledge and pocketing tens of millions of dollars?

Case 2: The Folsom Felon

  • Guru Stefan Wilson is a former youth minister who decides investing is a more lucrative career. He becomes a self-made investment guru. Wilson pursues a moneymaking venture. He forms the Christians in Crisis investment fund. He takes to the airways, appearing on television and at seminars. He promises high returns of up to 22%. The pitch is appealing. Investors sign up. But looks are deceiving. The huge investment returns are nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Wilson's wife becomes suspicious. Can Wilson really deliver? In the Sacramento area the word is spreading: Stefan Wilson can make you rich, but it comes at a cost.

Web Extras

  • Daring thieves have broken into museums, castles, and even personal homes throughout history to swindle artistic masterpieces. It doesn't happen often given how much art is out there, but when it does — and especially when the thieves get away with it — it makes global headlines. Unlike most robberies, art theft is typically more about obsession than it is making money — the thieves steal for their own personal collections.

    The FBI estimates that $6 billion is lost annually around the globe to the theft, fraud, looting and trafficking of art and cultural property. Click to see some of the world's biggest art heists.

  • The Art of the Steal

    Journalist Judd Tully explains how art deals are often made with a handshake.

  • Appendix A of Larry Salander’s plea agreement outlines his background and spells out word-for-word the fraud he admitted to perpetrating against his clients. (Source: New York State Court Records)

  • This is the email Salander wrote to Maurice Katz after Katz expressed displeasure with Salander to the press. (Source: Maurice Katz)

  • The Folsom Felon

    Stefan Wilson is a self-made investment guru. He claimed his investment fund was a sure-fire winner. But investing with Wilson came at a very high price. In court, victims tell Stefan Wilson how he ruined their lives.

  • The prosecution lays out its case for keeping Wilson behind bars after his arrest. (Source: Federal Court Records)

  • This document, part of the government’s brief regarding Wilson’s detention prior to his trial, lists Wilson’s suspicious internet activities. (Source: Federal Court Records)

  • This document, part of the government’s brief regarding Wilson’s detention prior to his trial, is Wilson’s handwritten list of ways Wilson could obtain money (ostensibly to flee) despite the frozen status of his bank accounts. (Source: Federal Court Records)