That’s after drugs and guns, of course.
Ever seen the TV series ‘Suits’? The show features heartthrob Matt Boemer investigating and solving mysteries involving billion dollar art heist mysteries. It turns out the show may contain a lot more truth than you’d think (but probably far less attractive).
Newsweek conducted an extensive research study and found that art heists are the third largest criminal trade in the entire world, generating anywhere between $6 billion and $8 billion a year. Unfortunately only 10% of the 50,000 to 100,000 pieces of art stolen are ever returned to their rightful owners. This creates a major issue when honest buyers purchase stolen pieces unknowingly creating lawsuits and battles over ownership rights.
Even more startling is the fact that the entire underground art market stems from the days of Nazis stealing from Jewish museums and collectors and creating a Nazi art market with the stolen pieces. It seems to be a tough cycle to break since the excessively rich in this world are rapidly growing in numbers and they have an insatiable appetite for expensive, oftentimes stolen, artworks.