Philanthropist Herbert Axelrod Gets 18-Month Prison Term

Classic Arts News   Philanthropist Herbert Axelrod Gets 18-Month Prison Term
 
Herbert Axelrod, the philanthropist who sold a collection of rare string instruments to the New Jersey Symphony in 2003, was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison for tax fraud, the New York Times reports.

After spending two months as a fugitive in Cuba and Europe last year, Axelrod was captured and pleaded guilty to helping an associate hide money in a Swiss bank account in order to avoid taxes.

Axelrod's sale of 30 violins, violas, and cellos to the NJSO has also prompted controversy. He sold the instruments to the orchestra for $18 million, but claimed that they were worth $50 million, a valuation accepted by NJSO officials. Later, experts determined that parts of the collection were inauthentic, and that its true value was between $15 million and $26 million.

As part of his plea agreement, Axelrod pledged not to take a tax deduction for the sale, and prosecutors said they would not seek criminal charges.


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