Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay Community Reviews - Find out where to download Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay available in multiple formats:Hardcover,Kindle,Paperback Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay Author:Kenneth Walton Formats:Hardcover,Kindle,Paperback Publication Date:Apr 25, 2006


A behind-the-scenes account of an art scam through which con
artists used eBay's then-unpoliced auction system to manipulate bidders
out of large quantities of money traces the author's transformation from
an art trader to an Internet fraudster, shares the stories of
high-profile scammers and victims, and describes how their activities
changed eBay policies. 50,000 first printing.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.10

142 Ratings

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Reviews for Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay:

4

Apr 28, 2018

Perversely fascinating tale of a lawyer who tosses his ethics aside and sells questionable paintings on Ebay. Before long he's actually committing fraud and forgery and as readers we are right there watching his life, reputation and career go down the drain.
4

Jan 04, 2018

This is definitely not an example of innovative literature, but it is a fun story. It highlights the importance of experimenting with innovative tech and platforms and trying to do what one innately enjoys. On a more serious note it highlights so many stories of crime and fraud. Quietly ignoring one moral gave rise to ignoring another until the author was in an investigator’s crosshairs. To paraphrase the book, the federal government has an unlimited budget when it pursues a suspect, so think This is definitely not an example of innovative literature, but it is a fun story. It highlights the importance of experimenting with innovative tech and platforms and trying to do what one innately enjoys. On a more serious note it highlights so many stories of crime and fraud. Quietly ignoring one moral gave rise to ignoring another until the author was in an investigator’s crosshairs. To paraphrase the book, the federal government has an unlimited budget when it pursues a suspect, so think carefully about meeting them in court. The author was lucky. He had a loving and generous set of family and friends who helped him through his ordeal. His actions were wrong, but the strength of his support network helped him correct his course . This is a great read for technologists and “true crime” fans. ...more
4

Oct 28, 2013

I picked up this book for a few cents at a library sale and it turned out to be a very readable book. I buy a lot of stuff on eBay so nothing here was much of a surprise to me but it was interesting to see how a sort of regular-guy, who was smart enough that he could have earned a living honestly, can slip down the slope of immaturity and fall into the pit of dishonesty and greed. It is also interesting to note how difficult it is for people, even experts, to tell the difference between valuable I picked up this book for a few cents at a library sale and it turned out to be a very readable book. I buy a lot of stuff on eBay so nothing here was much of a surprise to me but it was interesting to see how a sort of regular-guy, who was smart enough that he could have earned a living honestly, can slip down the slope of immaturity and fall into the pit of dishonesty and greed. It is also interesting to note how difficult it is for people, even experts, to tell the difference between valuable art and, well, not valuable, art. Two letters in the corner make all the difference.

At one point the author does discover a genuinely valuable painting at a thrift shop. In many other instances he finds unsigned paintings that resemble works by famous painters closely enough to pass for them at auction. Blake Gopnik gives his take on this in "In Praise of Art Forgeries" in the New York Times. There is much to be learned here: If you are decorating your home, shop at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores where the con artists shop.

The author gave the most concise and honest (surprise!) explanation I've seen why there are so few forgers of the old masters and so many forgers from the impressionists to now. Yes, of course, he makes such a big deal about his feelings of guilt over forging the signature on that one painting that we feel that we are being conned but, he was a con man, so what do you expect? On the other hand, I had trouble relating to his victims. I have nothing whatsoever in common with a person who bids over $100,000 on a painting on eBay or anywhere else. ...more
2

Feb 18, 2010

Kenneth Walton is sorry: to his friends, parents, ex-girlfriends, and the people he conned into buying forged paintings on eBay. “I’ve met my inner con man,” he says, “and I can never again pretend I don’t know him.” This inner con man tells the story of Walton’s venture into internet fraud in which he went from a middling lawyer to an ersatz art dealer, forging artists’ signatures and palming off junkshop paintings as masterpieces. He worked with other sellers, setting up fake eBay IDs and Kenneth Walton is sorry: to his friends, parents, ex-girlfriends, and the people he conned into buying forged paintings on eBay. “I’ve met my inner con man,” he says, “and I can never again pretend I don’t know him.” This inner con man tells the story of Walton’s venture into internet fraud in which he went from a middling lawyer to an ersatz art dealer, forging artists’ signatures and palming off junkshop paintings as masterpieces. He worked with other sellers, setting up fake eBay IDs and making shill bids on each other’s items to inflate prices, until he got caught selling a forgery for $135,858 and arrested. The book is entertaining enough – although it could do with being 100 pages shorter – but Walton is just too apologetic. We all know stealing is wrong; an unrepentant fraudster’s take on it could have been far more interesting, especially now he’s presumably making a profit selling the story. ...more
4

Dec 30, 2007

Fake is a gripping real-life tale of Kenneth Walton's growth from small-time seller on eBay to a full-fledged internet swindler, selling art forgeries for ridiculous amounts of money.

I literally couldn't put this book down, and that says something for a first-time author like Walton. What makes Walton's story so fascinating is that he takes the reader through his thought process that led him to a decision that destroyed his life.
2

Jun 14, 2010

As far as books about art crime go, Provenance was a more gripping read. But this was readable and, if some people find the mea culpas a bit too much, you have to give the author some credit for revealing himself to be immature, weak, dishonest and greedy. Made you want to kick the guy in the pants or knock some sense into him, but then getting caught and charged and dis-barred seems to have had some effect.

Fact is, though, that shill bidding still happens on eBay, seems like no-win or As far as books about art crime go, Provenance was a more gripping read. But this was readable and, if some people find the mea culpas a bit too much, you have to give the author some credit for revealing himself to be immature, weak, dishonest and greedy. Made you want to kick the guy in the pants or knock some sense into him, but then getting caught and charged and dis-barred seems to have had some effect.

Fact is, though, that shill bidding still happens on eBay, seems like no-win or seemingly 1st time bidders come in make a single bid and are never seen on the auction again. The author's mistake, doing to too often and drawing attention to himself with a big sale. ...more
4

Jun 23, 2013

- EBay's popularity exploded in the late 1990's as millions of bidders went online to the largest flea-market on earth, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles (and now - yachts, airplanes, and real-estate). Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con-artist, unable to resist the temptation of abusing a system that prided itself on - EBay's popularity exploded in the late 1990's as millions of bidders went online to the largest flea-market on earth, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles (and now - yachts, airplanes, and real-estate). Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con-artist, unable to resist the temptation of abusing a system that prided itself on being 'based on trust'. Kenneth Walton - once a lawyer...was being seduced by just such a con-artist, and eventually became one himself. ...more
3

Aug 22, 2009

Quick read about a man who sold forged paintings on Ebay for thousands of dollars and his eventual expulsion for the auction site. Anyone interested in art would find this book both fascinating and sickening as Kenneth Walton recounts his relationship with this partner and fellow art-forger Fetterman, his interaction with Ebay customers, and the shill bidding that pushed the price of the some paintings up over $30,000. The ending is sad and leaves the reader wondering if the old adage, "Once a Quick read about a man who sold forged paintings on Ebay for thousands of dollars and his eventual expulsion for the auction site. Anyone interested in art would find this book both fascinating and sickening as Kenneth Walton recounts his relationship with this partner and fellow art-forger Fetterman, his interaction with Ebay customers, and the shill bidding that pushed the price of the some paintings up over $30,000. The ending is sad and leaves the reader wondering if the old adage, "Once a con-man, always a con-man" is true. ...more
3

Feb 09, 2011

Much more readable than I actually expected- literally sat down and read it in one go. Walton's voice is easy to follow, and it's easy to feel sympathy for the huge forgery scam he was embroiled in. Though not quite as exciting as I'd expected (Walton's job wasn't actually forging artworks per se, but selling off crap pieces and passing them off as genuine on eBay), it's still eye-opening and pretty interesting. The book has a significant focus on Walton's personal life as well, and how his art Much more readable than I actually expected- literally sat down and read it in one go. Walton's voice is easy to follow, and it's easy to feel sympathy for the huge forgery scam he was embroiled in. Though not quite as exciting as I'd expected (Walton's job wasn't actually forging artworks per se, but selling off crap pieces and passing them off as genuine on eBay), it's still eye-opening and pretty interesting. The book has a significant focus on Walton's personal life as well, and how his art business affects it. ...more
3

Sep 16, 2007

Aieee. Creeps ripping off honest folks on eBay. Also creeps making excuses for bad behaviour and rationalizing stealing. Thoroughly despicable author goes from lawyer to cheat to forger. One wonders what sort of a person then writes it all up, almost proudly, and publishes it. After this book, I needed a shower. With steel wool to get the really sticky nasty bits off. Walton is a decent writer, it's the sordid details that got me down.
5

Apr 14, 2014

Excellent read. Suspense, drama, intrigue along with the compelling choices and consequences that changed the author's life in an unimaginable way. Difficult to put down as you ride the roller coaster of the authors daily choices, revelations and sometimes ironic outcomes. I highly recommend this!
3

Mar 31, 2016

A well-written story of how one man got sucked into the fast money of ebay and the repercussions of his actions. My favorite line was on page 294, "But a life is shaped by a series of small decisions, and the choices that led me to where I was began long before I spotted the orange and green painting in that shop in Pearblossom."
4

Jan 11, 2012

A good story. How anyone thought they could get away with this more than once is beyond any level of stupidity. Ken Walton got exactly what he deserved and as someone who has (almost) been scammed on eBay (much smaller amount than any of Mr. Walton's dealings), I am glad the defrauded received their money back.
4

Oct 31, 2015

I enjoyed this easy read. Finished in 2 days. It tells the story of a highly educated man who essentially became addicted to EBay back in the day and went down the slippery slope of lies and easy money until he crashed. It's written as a confession with the emotional and legal stress woven in. Overall, a good book.
4

Jan 02, 2013

An interesting story about art fraud on eBay from a guy whose remorse for his part in the whole thing I believe. He describes how he got into it, the moral compromises along the way, and what the choices he made ultimately cost. And, in the end, I liked the guy. Nicely done.
4

Nov 22, 2007

Great true story of the first high profile corruption story of eBay. It's also a great art forgery story. This book is written from the seller/art forger perspective. The author is also a lawyer. I don't completely believe his story, but it is still a good one.
3

Dec 12, 2014

Good quick read, but would have liked some more details on the forgeries. Sidebars with short interviews of other people involved in the case would have rounded it out nicely. Still, enjoyable, interesting read.
2

Mar 16, 2009

It's true. That guy that I knew is mentioned several times by name in this book. Other than that, it's a fairly interesting read in the "people I don't like doing things I don't want" category.
5

Aug 10, 2007

Ken is a friend of mine - This is a great read and true all the way through!
2

Aug 04, 2007

Ken Walton used Ebay to compulsively re-sell art--faked, forged, and otherwise misrepresented. He got caught and wrote a book about it. His story is straightforward, if it can be believed.

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