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Former art dealer convicted of charges involving stolen art

A Florida-based art dealer who was accused at one point of selling fake art amounting to more than $2 million, was convicted Tuesday on federal charges involving stolen artwork and income tax evasion. 

Jurors deliberated for about a day before returning guilty verdicts on all charges against Matthew Taylor, 44, who was accused of selling and possessing two paintings stolen from a Los Angeles gallery as well as other financial crimes, including wire fraud. 

Prosecutors alleged that Taylor stole a landscape painting by California impressionist Granville Redmond out of a West L.A. gallery, then later sold it for $85,000, claiming it belonged to his mother. Taylor was also accused of having been in possession of a second painting, by artist Lucien Frank, which also went missing from the same gallery. 

Taylor offered to sell the Frank painting to a customer after painting over the original artist’s signature and trying to pass it off as another artist’s work, prosecutors contended. 

An attorney representing Taylor told jurors his client was being framed by a longtime client who was also a close friend. The charge over the stolen painting, attorney Harland Braun contended, was a misunderstanding over two similar Redmond paintings. 

Taylor initially faced charges that he sold more than $2 million in art he falsely represented was by esteemed artists including Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet and Mark Rothko, but those counts were dropped by prosecutors on the eve of trial.

Jurors also convicted Taylor of failing to pay income taxes on more than $1.4 million he made in 2005 and 2006. He faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. 

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-- Victoria Kim

 
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