Allegations of art gallery fraud dropped
EAGLE Nine felony charges against a former art gallery accused of stealing art and fraudulently using credit cards were dismissed last week, authorities said. Diane Stockmar, of Gypsum, would pay $20,000 to her former employer though prosecutors dropped nine felony charges a count of theft, four counts of unauthorized use of a transaction device and four counts of criminal impersonation, said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert. Cases are very fluid sometimes the evidence gets worse and sometimes the evidence gets better, Hurlbert said. The evidence got so bad that we couldnt prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Stockmar was accused of failing to pay gallery artists for more than $100,000 of artwork and impersonating gallery co-owner Adele Arrowsmith to apply for credit cards for her own use, police said. Police began investigating Stockmar in 2002, when the Dragonfly Art Gallery in Avon went out of business.The restitution Stockmar agreed to pay was not an admission of guilt, said her defense attorney Jim Fahrenholtz. Stockmar was confident to go to trial because a jury would have found her not guilty, he said. I think that this whole ordeal has worn on my client and shes glad it over with,-Fahrenholtz said. She never would have pled guilty to anything. Fahrenholtz had evidence that former gallery owner Adele Arrowsmith gave Stockmar permission to start credit card accounts. Police searched Stockmars home and never found any stolen art and Arrowsmith failed to correctly take inventory, he said. Arrowsmith was very shaken and very upset by prosecutors decision. I deserved a great deal more, Arrowsmith said. With $20,000 how am I going to pay the artists who were also deceived and robbed?Prosecutors called Arrowsmith, of Burbank, Calif., several times to try to fill in gaps in the evidence, but that didnt work, Hurlbert said. That doesnt mean I didnt believe that there arent victims in this case, Hurlbert said. I just cant prove it, given the state of the evidence. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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