Florida man held in art thefts, forgeries

Sept. 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Authorities in Los Angeles said they arrested a Florida man for allegedly selling forged and stolen art for more than $2 million.

Matthew Taylor, 43, of Vero Beach, was picked up by the FBI Thursday on seven felony charges issued in a federal grand jury indictment and took him to the federal court in Fort Pierce for his initial appearance.

Taylor allegedly sold more than 100 forged paintings to a collector over the course of several years, claiming they were the works of such famed artists as Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock and Vincent Van Gogh. They were actually the work of unknown artists, but Taylor allegedly covered up the signatures and forged the names of the more-famous and more-valuable artists and also added labels that made them appear to have once been in the collections of major art museums, the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles said in a written statement.

Taylor was also charged with stealing two paintings by Lucien Frank and Granville Redmond from a Los Angeles gallery several years ago and later selling the Redmond for $85,000.

The FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department's art theft squad put the case together, the statement said.

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