All that bullshit goes away with art. Secrecy is a hallmark of art dealing, one of the few industries where both the buyer and seller can and frequently prefer to remain anonymous, which is perfect for criminals wanting to move their dirty cash. One way to do it is by importing art at a ridiculously cheap price, when in reality the painting is worth millions of dollars. How bold do they get? Pretty damn, we'd say: In 2007, authorities caught a Brazilian embezzler transporting an $8 million Basquiat painting, labeled to be worth just $100.
U.S. Attorney's Office
Clearly too low a price for such a masterpiece.
Sadly, this was a rare arrest because art deals exclusively in intangible values based on perception. There is little legal oversight for who owns what, how much a piece of art is really worth, and where any of it actually goes, which makes keeping track of things and their exact value pretty much impossible. Thanks to the whole anonymity thing, no one knows how much this artificial inflation is affecting the art world. However, just looking at the way the prices of new artists' works keep inexplicably rising compared to the works of old masters, and the large amount of anonymous buyers and sellers in the game, we'd guess that the answer is probably measured in mountains of coke.