LOS ANGELES (CN) – A West Hollywood antiques dealer sold a $2 million phony Picasso she claimed once belonged to Malcolm Forbes and used nearly half the illegal proceeds to buy a real de Kooning, federal prosecutors said.
Tatiana Khan, owner of the Chateau Allegre gallery, is charged with paying an artist $1,000 to copy Picasso’s 1902 pastel “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat.”
Khan allegedly told the artist that the real drawing had been stolen and the fake would be part of a scheme to trick the crooks, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Khan then told an unknowing buyer that the drawing had come from the estate of Malcolm Forbes, and that the family wanted to sell it because of internal fighting, according to the FBI.
The FBI began investigating in 2009 after a Picasso expert told the buyer that the drawing was a fake.
While serving the summons, the FBI also seized a painting by abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning which Khan allegedly purchased with $720,000 of the proceeds from the fake Picasso.
Khan, 69, faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in federal prison.