California man who sold $1M of forged art gets 3-year term
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Southern California man who sold $1.1 million in forged art was sentenced Friday to three years in federal prison, prosecutors said.
Jason Harrington, 38, of Escondido, was sentenced in San Diego after pleading guilty to wire fraud earlier this year, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of California.
Harrington sold forgeries of paintings he claimed were the work of noted conceptual and street artist Richard Hambleton, who was a colleague of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Hambleton, a Canadian who settled in New York City, died in 2017. Some of his works have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Harrington acknowledged that between 2018 and 2020, he sold forgeries to at least 15 people and galleries, including some depicting Hambleton’s famous black-silhouetted “Shadowman” theme from the early 1980s, prosecutors said.
“To make the forged art appear authentic, Harrington lied to prospective buyers regarding the provenance of the art,” including providing them with fake letters of authenticity from supposed owners, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
“This is a fitting sentence for a defendant who harmed investors, corrupted the integrity of the art market, and damaged the historical-cultural record,” Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in the statement.
Harrington agreed to make $1.1 million in restitution and faces a restitution hearing in February.