Husband, wife sentenced for selling art forgeries
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Federal authorities say a Baton Rouge couple who admitted selling fake Clementine Hunter paintings to unsuspecting art collectors was sentenced Friday to two years of probation.
U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell also ordered William and Beryl Ann Toye to pay restitution in the amount of $426,393. Each faced up to five years in prison for conspiracy.
In addition, Drell ordered Beryl Ann Toye, 69, to serve a year of home confinement. The judge said both she and her husband would have to help in identifying and cataloguing any Clementine Hunter forgeries created by William Toye, 79.
Hunter, a black folk artist, taught herself to paint in the 1930s with brushes and paint that an artist left at the plantation where she worked as a cook. She painted scenes of plantation life from memory, and some of the forgeries were of scenes she painted repeatedly before her death in 1988 at the age of 101. She sold some paintings for as little as 25 cents. Two Hunter forgeries sold in January 2005 for a total of $18,000, according to the indictment.
A third defendant in the case, New Orleans art dealer Robert E. Lucky Jr., will be sentenced Nov. 18.
Prosecutors have said Lucky sold many of the forged paintings.