Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kaushal Niroula and The Gay Grifters

Art Scheme

If Niroula committed a crime against Hisamatsu, he got away with it for years.

Back in San Francisco, he became friends with Gary Heidenreich, a former executive of Silicon Valley's Peninsula Technology. Heidenreich was an art collector, with a special interest in the minimalist, organic landscapes of French surrealist Yves Tanguy. Niroula told Heidenreich that he could help him arrange the purchase of a Tanguy painting from the National Gallery of Scotland. It was a singular opportunity, Niroula convinced him: the British royal family, embarrassed by the fact that the painting had been a gift from Nazis, was desperate to get rid of it and willing to sell cheap.

Russell Manning
Russell Manning
This is where a fourth member of the Gay Grifters comes in. Russell Manning, once a dealer for two prominent Union Square galleries, allegedly brokered the deal. They told Heidenreich he could have the painting for under $1 million, and that they'd put the sale into motion once he gave them a $400,000 deposit.

Cash in hand, Niroula and boyfriend Danny Garcia went to Las Vegas. They allegedly spent $250,000 in a wild week at the Bellagio, gambling, buying everyone drinks and living the high life.

Then, San Francisco Police Detective Greg Ovanessian picked Niroula up for the art fraud. Niroula's other boyfriend—or was it Garcia's?—Replogle bailed him out. Niroula immediately started negotiating a plea deal that would include repaying the money.

He just needed a little more cash. And he was never short on ideas about how to get it.

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