Art Dealer Gets 5 Years in Prison for Cyberstalking
An art dealer in Riverside County, California, who admitted to cyberstalking a Beverly Hills-based art publisher and artists he used to work with was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison by a federal judge who called the dealer’s actions “very disturbing.”
Jason White, of Temecula’s White Galleries, was arrested in February for sending threatening emails and texts to Robert Bane over a six month period. In March, the 43-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of federal stalking (see “California Dealer Pleads Guilty to Charges of Stalking and Extortion“).
Upon ending the business relationship he had with Bane and several artists, he set up websites on which he asserted that they were committing international fraud and hawking paintings created in sweatshops. According to prosecutors, White then demanded, via harassing emails and text messages, that they pay him to take the websites down. When his efforts at extortion proved unsuccessful, he made threats against the families of his targets. In one case, he sent a picture of the child of one of his former supervisors along with the comment, “It will be very unfortunate if something was to happen to him.”
White also posted a photo of himself and a message on the Facebook page of one artist, as per prosecutors, writing that he was targeting the wife and child and would wait in the bushes to “kneecap” the child.
“Given the ominous, angry and relentless nature of the messages,” prosecutors stated in a sentencing memo filed with the court, “the victims had a reasonable fear that the defendant planned to hunt down and kill their spouses and children.”
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