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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Jasper Johns Assistant Gets 18 Months in Jail

MANHATTAN (CN) - One-and-a-half years in prison awaits the former studio assistant to Jasper Johns, who made $6.5 million on 22 stolen works from the artist's studio in Connecticut.

For 25 years, James Meyer worked for the contemporary neo-Dadaist artist best known for his flag series. The assistant kept a studio file drawer of unfinished works that had not been authorized for sale.

Between 2006 and 2012, he swiped nearly two dozen of these works and had them sold by a Manhattan gallery and other purchasers. Meyer told these entities that the works were gifts from Johns, prosecutors said.

Meyers made $3.4 million on the transactions and covered his tracks with fictitious inventory numbers and faked ledger book pages, according to the 2013 indictment.

In his prepared statement, Meyer told U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken that his betrayal of Johns left him with "profound remorse."

"I am truly devastated that I destroyed the close relationship that I had with the man who was my mentor, employer and friend since I was 21 years old," Meyer said. "I took for granted and betrayed someone who will forever have great meaning in my life."

The sentence is far lower than the four-year maximum sentence that Meyers faced.

Meyer, a 53-year-old resident of Salisbury, Conn., also must face two years of supervised release, and pay more than $17.4 million in restitution and forfeiture.

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