A Seattle Times investigation revealed that a seemingly reputable Asian antiques dealer neighboring some of Seattle’s most respected art galleries in the touristy Pioneer Square peddles blatantly fake ceramic tiles, vases and jars worth only a fraction of their selling price. Fraudulent artifacts sold for thousands of dollars is nothing new in the Asian art world, but this gallery, Thesaurus Fine Arts, is unique because their pieces, unlike many fakes, are purportedly backed by scientific evaluation. Company papers list Thesaurus employees as officers, but The Times learned that the gallery is secretly owned and operated by Steven Cheung, a wealthy Hong Kong-born U.S. citizen with homes in Seattle, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He’s an internationally known economist who has been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in economy. The Times discovered that Cheung is connected to both the TL labs that had certified the teapot and tile -- and that the IRS is investigating him for tax fraud.