An art dealer who fled the United States 13 years ago after being charged for selling counterfeit artwork online will finally face jail time.
The Department of Justice announced that Angela Catherine Hamblin, 74, had been extradited from Germany to the U.S.
Hamblin had been charged with one count of mail fraud in 2007 after selling an estimate $410,000 in fake works on the online platform eBay and in private transactions that were attributed to British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, Spanish Cubist artist Juan Gris, as well as American abstract painters Milton Avery, and Franz Kline. Hamblin was facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the charge.
Prosecutors said that Hamblin had been selling fake art works for years. “She continued her fraud relentlessly,” they said in an interview. After discovering the paintings were fake, buyers would routinely demand their money back. On the few occasions Hamblin did refund money, she would re-sell the painting.”
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Hamblin told the judge she turned to art fraud because of mortgage payments. After she pled guilty in 2009 to two counts of mail fraud and one of wire fraud, Hamblin was sentenced to one year and one day in prison as well as ordered to pay $65,000 in restitution to gallery owner Jeffrey Bergen of ACA Galleries. However, she failed to report to authorities and fled to the United Kingdom.
According to a press release from the Justice Department, Hamblin was re-arrested last May while changing flights at an airport in the German city of Frankfurt on her way home to Scotland from a trip to Vienna. She had been living in the Scottish village of St. Boswells with her husband.
“Hamblin went to great lengths to avoid accountability for her crimes, but this Office and the FBI have long memories and benefit greatly from our cooperation with international partners,” United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, recently said in a statement.