Former art dealer accused of selling forged works

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A Florida man was arrested Thursday and charged with defrauding a Los Angeles art collector out of more than $2 million by selling him forged works of Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.

Matthew Taylor, 43, of Vero Beach, Fla., was indicted on seven felony counts, including wire fraud and money laundering, by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.

The former art dealer is accused of altering paintings from unknown artists to make them appear to be those from their famous counterparts and selling the bogus pieces at much higher prices than their actual worth.

He also placed fake labels on the artwork to claim they were once part of prestigious collections at such museums as the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, authorities said.

Taylor is believed to have sold more than 100 false paintings to the collector in Los Angeles for more than $2 million.

He is also is accused of stealing a Granville Redmond painting for a Los Angeles art gallery. Prosecutors said Taylor later sold the painting, entitled Seascape at Twilight to a different gallery for $85,000.

He was expected to make a court appearance in Fort Pierce, Fla. It wasn’t immediately known if Taylor had retained an attorney.

If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 100 years in federal prison.

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