Fake-check scam targets artists

A West Hollywood painter survives a brush with a fraudster who pretended to be interested in buying his artwork.

Guía de Regalos

Fake-check scams have been around for a while. But here’s the first one I’ve seen that specifically preys on artists.

When not editing the magazine Tango Reporter — which, yes, covers the sultry world of tango aficionados — Carlos G. Groppa paints cheerful watercolor landscapes depicting cottages, gardens and other friendly subjects that one could easily imagine seeing on the wall of a hotel room or at the doctor’s office.

Groppa, 80, of West Hollywood, sells his original art online. He uses a website called FineArtAmerica, which features the works of about 75,000 artists and facilitates sales of prints and greeting cards if a buyer isn’t interested in an original.

Groppa is modest in his asking prices, typically seeking about $100 for an original watercolor. He said he sells about three paintings a month.

“That’s not bad,” Groppa told me. “But it’s not good. Making $300 a month isn’t such a big deal.”

So it was a pleasant surprise for him to receive an email recently from someone who really seemed to like his work. The buyer, who identified herself as Jane Peterson, listed five paintings that she wanted to purchase.

Groppa informed her that the total price for the works would be $485, plus $25 for shipping.

Groppa is modest in his asking prices, typically seeking about $100 for an original watercolor. He said he sells about three paintings a month.

“That’s not bad,” Groppa told me. “But it’s not good. Making $300 a month isn’t such a big deal.”

So it was a pleasant surprise for him to receive an email recently from someone who really seemed to like his work. The buyer, who identified herself as Jane Peterson, listed five paintings that she wanted to purchase.

Groppa informed her that the total price for the works would be $485, plus $25 for shipping.

Groppa is modest in his asking prices, typically seeking about $100 for an original watercolor. He said he sells about three paintings a month.

“That’s not bad,” Groppa told me. “But it’s not good. Making $300 a month isn’t such a big deal.”

So it was a pleasant surprise for him to receive an email recently from someone who really seemed to like his work. The buyer, who identified herself as Jane Peterson, listed five paintings that she wanted to purchase.

Groppa informed her that the total price for the works would be $485, plus $25 for shipping.