Art gallery owners get prison terms for defrauding customers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A mother and son who pleaded guilty to charges they defrauded customers at an art gallery they owned have been sentenced to prison terms.

Sixty-year-old Constance Breithoff and her son, 35-year-old Christopher Breithoff, both of Covington, have been sentenced to 18 months and 21 months in prison, respectively.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon also ordered the Breithoffs to pay $924,000 in restitution to their victims.

Prosecutors say the Breithoffs purchased Chinese paintings in bulk and resold them as original works of art by phony local artists. They operated Barlow Art Gallery and Transitions in Mandeville and also had a location in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

The Breithoffs pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in October 2008.

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