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Woman Sentenced to 7 Years for Auctioning Fake Art


LOS ANGELES (AP).- A woman who sold $20 million in phony artwork she claimed was by Picasso, Dali and Chagall to thousands of people through a semiweekly televised auction has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Kristine Eubanks, 52, of La Canada Flintridge pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and tax evasion and was sentenced Monday.

She and her husband, Gerald Sullivan, conducted an art auction show twice a week on DirecTV and The Dish Network from 2002 to 2006.

The couple ran Fine Art Treasures Gallery, which sold fake and forged lithographs, prints and paintings purportedly found at estate liquidations around the world to more than 10,000 victims, U.S. attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

They bought the paintings from suppliers and sometimes signed the forgeries and prints with the artists' names, prosecutors said.

Eubanks forged "certificates of authenticity" for some pieces and provided fake appraisals for jewelry pieces, Mrozek said.

Also, the couple drove up sale prices by having fake bids announced on-air, he said.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feess said their scheme was "audacious in its scope" and blatantly illegal.

Sullivan will be sentenced in May after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in federal prison.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

La Canada Flintridge | Kristine Eubanks | Picasso | Dali | Chagall |





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