Bogus Deal on a Corot Ends Badly

     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.

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