How Mad Dog McEnroe Helped Bring Down Art Scammer

Lawrence Salander apparently had a nice little painting ponzi scheme going for a while there. Then he tried conning a certain temperamental tennis star named John McEnroe. This, of course, ENDED him.

It's looking like McEnroe's determined attempts at revenge against Salander were key to bringing the rogue art dealer down. Here's how it played out, per the Daily News.

Five years ago, McEnroe bought a 50 percent interesting in two paintings by abstract expressionist Arshile Gorky, securing for himself half the money when Salander later sold the works. Or so the tennis great was told.

Unbeknownst to McEnroe, Salander sold the same half interest to a banker named Morton Bender, officials said. Then he sold [one of the two paintings] for $2.5 million and pocketed all the proceeds, prosecutors said.

McEnroe, being a terrifying rage machine when he wants to be, then somehow "forced" Salander to turn over the remaining painting.

But when McEnroe put the painting up for auction at Christie's, he found someone else had a lien on it — Salander had sold the same half interest McEnroe supposedly held to someone else. McEnroe had been scammed to the tune of $2 million. After presumably smashing a container ship full of tennis racquets in sheer rage, McEnroe then sued Salander, back in 2007.

Seeing his filing, prosecutors got in touch. Of course, as we mentioned previously, there ended up being another civil suit against Salander — by Robert DeNiro.

The lesson for scammers: Do not cross celebrities famous for their on-camera rage and violence. They have a certain image to uphold.