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US seizes 2,200 pieces of artwork in NJ

The Associated Press, Friday, March 1, 2013, 3:06pm (PST)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal prosecutor in New Jersey says the government has seized more than 2,000 works of art allegedly used to launder money raised fraudulently. They were appraised at nearly $16 million.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark announced Friday a court filing seeking to force the owner to forfeit the works, including an Alfred Stieglitz photograph that sold for $675,000. They were seized from a warehouse in July.

The government says the owner of Green Diesel, based in Houston, was trying to ship the works to Spain.

The complaint alleges company owner Philip Rivkin bought the artwork by selling credits for generating biodiesel fuel, though it did not produce any fuel.

Rivkin attorney Kyle Sampson said he's aware of the filing and is working with officials "to resolve their concerns."

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