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Former Driver to Elderly Poet Guilty of Stealing Artworks by Andy Warhol and Francis Picabia
NEW YORK (REUTERS).- A U.S. jury on Monday found a former driver of a wealthy elderly poet guilty of stealing artworks by Andy Warhol and Francis Picabia as well as millions of dollars from his former employer.

James Biear, 50, was convicted on all 10-counts including fraud and money laundering charges, the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.

"James Biear preyed upon an elderly man and robbed him of artwork it took him a lifetime to collect," Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said in the statement.

"He also stole millions of dollars, and even the valuable spoons the victim used to eat his breakfast every morning," Bharara said.

Biear was found guilty of stealing $3.2 million from his victim, Kenward Elmslie. He used the money to buy himself a house and luxury furnishings, court papers said.

Biear also stole a box created by Andy Warhol called "Heinz 57," along with pieces by artists Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, and Alex Katz among others.

He sold the Warhol for $220,000.

Biear used a credit card belonging to Elmslie to buy a horse as well as luxury vacations and dinners, U.S. prosecutors said.

Biear faces up to 145 years in prison.

(Reporting by Basil Katz, editing by Greg McCune)

Andy Warhol | Francis Picabia | James Biear | New York |




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