MANHATTAN (CN) – A New Yorker faces up to 20 years in prison for defrauding a man in an $880,000 deal on a painting by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.
Thomas Doyle, 53, pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud in a deal he cooked up on Corot’s “Portrait of a Girl.” He was arrested in September after the masterpiece went missing.
Doyle told “Victim-1” they could buy the painting for $1.1 million, and asked the victim to pony up $880,000 of it, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing the plea. Doyle said he would pay $220,000 for a 20 percent share in the painting, and the victim would own 80 percent of it.
Doyle also claimed that he had a buyer who would pay $1.7 million for the painting.
But Doyle actually bought the painting for $775,000, and there was no second buyer, prosecutors said.
“After Doyle acquired the Corot painting, a co-conspirator stored it in a storage facility in Manhattan. Doyle’s co-conspirator later removed it without authorization,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Doyle will be sentenced on Oct. 11. He agreed to forfeit $880,000, his interest in the painting and a 1993 Ferrari.
Corot (1796-1875) was the leader of the Barbizon school of landscape painting, and a forerunner of the Impressionists.