LOS ANGELES -- A 70 year old art dealer in West Hollywood pleaded guilty Thursday to selling a fake Picasso for $2 million dollars.
Tatiana Khan could receive up to 25 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine, although the plea agreement proposes a prison sentence of no more than 21 months. She will be sentenced on October 4th.
Khan, who owns and lives at the Chateau Allegre Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, hired an artist to fabricate the Picasso by giving the her a photo of the drawing and telling her that the real Picasso artwork had been stolen from one of her clients. FBI officials say Khan told the artist the she needed a copy to play a trick that would help catch the thief.
"Khan falsely told an FBI agent who was investigating the sale that Khan had obtained the drawing from an acquaintance," a Department of Justice statement said. "Khan also admitted that she told the art restorer to lie to the FBI by saying that she only did restoration work for Khan and did not do any copying work."
The FBI began investigating the sale of the artwork in 2009 after the buyer contacted a Picasso expert, who said the drawing was fake. After being contacted by the FBI, Khan allegedly contacted the artist who made the copy and told the artist not to divulge that she had created the bogus Picasso. When Khan was interviewed by the FBI, according to the complaint, she claimed that she had obtained the drawing from a cosmetologist who worked near Chateau Allegré as collateral for a $40,000 loan.