Allegations of [tag]fraud[/tag] have been raised against “Painter of Light” Thomas Kinkade and his executives. The allegations that they induced investors to open art galleries and then ruined them financially are being investigated by the FBI.
To date, at least six former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners have filed civil suits against Kinkade. They claim they invested tens of thousands of dollars each, but that policies set up by Kinkade Co. drove them out of business. They said they had limited edition itgems that they couldent sell, they were forced to open stores in saturated markets, and that they were undercut by discounters who offered identical pieces at reduced prices, which they were prohibited to match.
The claims against Kinkade include allegations that he used Christianity to persuade them to invest in independent stores that only sell Kinkade’s works. They say he used the “Christian hook” to get them involved, but Kinkade denies this.
Former dealers have said that the FBI asked them to provide copies of certain information about their contracts with Kinkade, including dealer agreements, retail sales policies, and training materials from “Thomas Kinkade University”.
A spokesman for Kinkade Co. said, “The Thomas Kinkade Co. asserts that there is no legitimate grounds for a [tag]federal investigation[/tag] of any kind.” However, earlier this year an arbitration panel awarded $860,000 to two former owners of Kinkade galleries after they made similar allegations.