LOS ANGELES—A Florida man was convicted today on federal charges of selling and possessing paintings stolen from a Los Angeles art gallery, tax evasion on more than $1.4 million in income, and structuring financial transactions of $226,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements while released on bond.
Matthew Taylor, 44, of Vero Beach, Florida, was found guilty by a federal jury after a trial lasting two weeks and one day. The jury convicted Taylor of wire fraud, possession of stolen property that had been transported across state lines, tax evasion, and structuring financial transactions while on pretrial release.
The jury determined that Taylor sold a stolen Granville Redmond painting from a gallery in Los Angeles to a different gallery for $85,000, falsely claiming that his mother had owned it since the 1990s. The jury also found that Taylor knowingly possessed a Lucien Frank painting stolen from the same gallery in Los Angeles, after that painting had been taken across state lines. The evidence at trial showed that Taylor tried to pass the Lucien Frank painting off as by another artist, and sell it, by erasing or obliterating Lucien Frank’s signature.
Taylor was also convicted of evading federal income taxes that he owed on more than $1.4 million earned in income in 2005 and 2006. The evidence at trial showed that Taylor had not filed income tax returns for those two years and had taken elaborate steps to evade paying the taxes that he owed, including by creating or having others create corporations with names such as Microsoft Holdings, AIG Investments, and ING Investments.
Taylor was also convicted of structuring cash transactions totaling $226,000 in December 2011 in order to avoid federal reporting requirements, while he was released on bond in this case. Taylor was remanded into custody before trial.
Taylor is scheduled to be sentenced on November 8, 2012, by United States District Judge John Kronstradt.
The wire fraud and possession of stolen property charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, the tax evasion charges each carry a statutory maximum of five years in federal prison, and the structuring charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in federal prison because the crime was committed while Taylor was released on bond. Therefore, Taylor faces a maximum possible sentence of 55 years in federal prison.
The investigation into Taylor was conducted by the FBI’s Art Crime Team, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail, and IRS-Criminal Investigation.