Florida man arrested for alleged art fraud

FBI agents arrested a Florida art dealer Thursday on allegations that he stole paintings from an L.A. gallery and forged works to a collector in L.A.

Matthew Taylor arrest results from his indictment by a federal grand jury in L.A. last week. The indictment lists seven felony charges against Taylor for allegedly selling more than 100 paintings to an L.A.-based collector.

Prosecutors say the dealer altered art works, some made my little-known artists, to convince the buyer that they were original paintings by Claude Monet, Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock. Prosecutors also claim that Taylor put labels on the framed works to mislead his buyer into thinking they’d belonged to famous museums. The indictment further alleges that Taylor stole two paintings from a gallery in Los Angeles and re-sold them.

The charges against him include wire fraud, money laundering and interstate transport of stolen property. Investigators are examining whether other Southland art galleries or collectors may have purchased suspicious pieces from the Vero Beach, Fla. dealer.

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