It now comes to light that Dietmar Machold, a respected dealer in fine instruments is under investigation for supposedly dealing fraudulently with buyers and sellers. He had offices all over the world and was well-known among high-end dealers. He was known as Mr. Stradivarius and had built his business very quickly. His father used to be a violin maker. Spiegel Online has a rather comprehensive article about Machold's troubles, if you can make time to read it. I wrote a story about Joseph Tang a few months ago and mentioned at that time that his victims had at least not suffered huge losses because they had not dealt in high-end instruments. Dietmar Machold appears to be the Major League version of Joseph Tang. He has been accused of perpetrating frauds to the tune of $35,000,000, selling fakes or inflating prices, or simply not paying owners for instruments he sold which had been placed with him on a consignment basis. Some sources speculate that the swindles were in excess of $100,000,000. I wouldn’t know. The New Jersey Symphony was allegedly one of his victims. A European bank made him loans of more than $4,000,000 which were secured by instruments purportedly worth a lot more than $4,000,000 but whose real value was closer to $5,000. By the way, I am still very much of the opinion that the so-called Messiah Stradivarius is a fake. It sits in a British Museum (the Ashmolean) away from any and all scrutiny. I have very little respect for dealers who have everything to gain by issuing certificates of authenticity and giving opinions of value on violins they sell. In fact, I prefer new violins to old, be they Guarnerius, Stradivarius, or Guadagnini. Fritz Reuter knows.