Seth Garceau (right) and friends going to a Bob Dylan concert
with Seth's father, Rick Garceau, in Des Moines, Iowa in 2004.

By Rick Garceau

When I was growing up, I loved listening to music. My passion was so strong that I knew it was something I wanted to share with my children, Seth and Tess.

Although the popular music of the time had changed between our generations, I still wanted the kids to appreciate classic rock in the way that I did. I started by introducing songs from bands such as The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan. In the morning, while I prepared breakfast I would blast music from these bands that the kids thought was “outdated.” While they would eat, I would sing along with the music and they would laugh and make jokes about how terrible my singing was. Even though the jokes were at my expense, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my mornings. Seth and Tess eventually learned the words better than I did, and that’s when I knew that music was something that would keep us together.

As the kids got older and started spending more time with their friends, our family still had the music to keep us in touch. My son and his friends were all Bob Dylan fans, just as I was, so it was a great surprise that they kept me in mind when they had an extra ticket to one of his shows. I was touched that out of all the people they could have asked to go, they chose me. The only problem was that I was building a house on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, and the concert was 11 hours away in Des Moines. However, I wasn’t going to let the distance keep from missing out on this great opportunity to enjoy Dylan with Seth and his friends.

I left early in the morning and drove nine hours to my hometown to pick up the boys and proceed to the concert. After three more hours of driving, we were finally there. The concert was phenomenal, as we all expected. But what I will remember most are the smiles of excitement on the boys’ faces during the entire show. At that moment, I forgot about the long drive ahead of me and just let the good times roll.

Shortly after the concert, Seth, a member of the Iowa National Guard, volunteered to join his battalion to fight the war in Iraq. After a mere 30 days of being there, Seth was killed by a roadside bomb that struck his Humvee. During the years to follow, I experienced many different emotions, but a large part of what I was feeling was emptiness. When you lose a child you not only lose them, but you also lose a huge part of yourself.

It took me awhile to adjust, but I found that through listening to music, I could start getting that part of myself back. Music has a way of conveying emotions that you sometimes can’t explain on your own. Music gave me a voice of my own and by listening to music that Seth and I both loved, I found a way to keep him alive in my heart. I eventually got back on my feet and started feeling more and more like myself. But something was still missing.

Although Seth was always with me in my heart, I wanted a way to celebrate his life and our love for music in a way that everyone could see. I devoted the next few years to remodeling my living room into a room built completely for Seth. In this room, I started by displaying military emblems, such as his purple heart and the items that he was carrying at the time of his death.

I didn’t want the entire room to be about Seth’s military endeavors, though, so I thought carefully about other ways I could memorialize his life. That's when I found Jerry Gladstone's autograph company, American Royal Arts. I ended up purchasing an autographed Grateful Dead guitar and an autographed Dylan and the Dead poster to remind me of the cherished hours Seth and I used to spend together, talking, laughing, and listening to these famous artists.

These tokens of the bond with my son meant the world to me. So I was devastated to discover that the autographs on the guitar and the poster, like all the classic rock memorabilia sold to me by Jerry Gladstone, were forgeries authenticated by Christopher Morales.

Now, the memorabilia that once brought back pleasant memories of my son elicits feelings of heartbreak and disgust.

By betraying me and thousands of others like me, these criminals have not only stolen our money. They have robbed us of much more than that.


The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Courtesy of American Royal Arts

Tags: Jerry gladstone, american royal arts, christopher Morales, dylan, fake, forgeries, grateful dead

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Replies to This Discussion

What a tragic story. I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing it, which I'm sure was tough to do.

This story makes me as sad as it does angry.  I have nothing for these pondscum of human beings.  They are crooks, period.

I am very sorry for your many losses. Don't let these pieces of trash darken your memories of the great times you had with your brave son.

I ask is this not considered a major crime spree by organized criminals that deserves intense action by the police and the FBI?

It has to be done knowingly.  Incompetence doesn't necessarily make it a crime. Unless someone flips and provides convincing evidence that it was done with criminal intent and knowingly then it is incompetence.  Analogy - PSA/DNA authentics a secretarial and a power seller lists it on ebay.  Is that a crime?  It's not authentic...     The sad part is these purely incompetent scam artists know this and they will ride the horse till it dies then eat the horse.  That's what con-artists and incompetent, as this example purely depicts,  FDE's do.

When someone is wrong 99% of the time and always wrong to the benefit of a potential “partner,” you can’t hide behind a “incompetent” or “my opinion” defense. Any decent prosecutor could easily argue conspiracy.

Just a for instance - can you prove 99% with any specificity?

personally, it ought to rise to a capital offense or "hanging" at Judge Parker's convenience but it doesn't.

Gladstone, as I recall already played one of the "incompetent cards" during a trial did he not?  That doesn't make him innocent by a long shot but the rules of criminal complaints have thresholds.  Rick, I'd suggest, contact his US Attorney General for his state.  AG's in NY have been able to corral the specifics while taking civil or criminal actions on the forgery business... they have the know how and the resources. 

These criminals obviously know they are selling fakes. They have been baned by eBay....and I am sure they were told why. Therefore, they cannot say they didn't know what they were doing, and continue to do.

I'm also pretty sure the "I didn't know the gun was loaded" routine is regularly debunked in court.

Gladstone didn't sell on eBay as far as I know, but he obviously knew he was selling fakes.

Stephanie M. Rose
United States Attorney for Northern District of Iowa

or     Nicholas A. Klinefeldt
United States Attorney   for the southern district of IOWA

& Steve "obviously" doesn't always work in the court of law without credible and beyond  reasonable doubt(s) based on the preponderance of the evidence at the criminal level.  Civil trials have a lessor threshold as you well know.



But you're mixing two standards. Beyond "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" is the standard for criminal trials.

"Preponderance of evidence" (the direction the scale tips, a little or a lot) is the standard for civil trials.

At least that's how I understand it.

In any case, in May 2010 Gladstone told me that I was right, that he sold forgeries. But he said he was screwed by his supply chain—that HE was the victim. His exact words were, "I'm the victim!" He even thanked me for disclosing the altered photos. He offered to open up all of his files and records to me, and be interviewed about it for Autograph Magazine. Forever Legends, Heroes and Legends, Gallery of Dreams, Autograph Central, many others, I'm sure...everyone he bought from. Every one of them defrauded him, victimized him, by selling him forgeries. 

All he wanted was for me to stop writing about him and take all the negative articles and posts about him down, because they were killing his business. He said he needed to stay in business so he could pay all his customers back for the forgeries he sold them.

It's interesting that when he put American Royal Arts into dissolution, he was supposed to list every real or potential creditor, under penalty of perjury...yet I believe that only the ones who had come out that far were listed.

When I emailed Michael Moecker and Assoc. (the trustee) and asked them why they weren't addressing the untold millions of dollars in liability to these potential creditors, they referred me to their legal counsel. Their legal counsel did not respond to me.


I reworded the fifth paragraph because it may have been unclear.



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