15 Minutes of Shame: FBI Make Arrest in Stolen Warhol Caper

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Monday, Nov 23, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM EDT
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15 Minutes of Shame: FBI Make Arrest in Stolen Warhol Caper

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The FBI arrested the employee of an art collecter Monday after the man allegedly stole and sold off an Andy Warhol painting for $220,000.

James Biear is charged with stealing the Warhol silkscreen and was able to sell it claiming it was a gift from his uncle.  But investigators said he stole the "Warhol Heinz 57 box" to an unsuspecting art dealer. 

The actual owner had reported the artwork stolen back in April 2007 but never suspected his own employee was the thief.  Officials declined to release name of the victim.

Biear faces mail fraud and wire fraud counts which carry a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.  Biear, 49, of Ossining, is expected to be arraigned in federal court on the charges late Monday. 

Biear also faced state charges for allegedly having stolen a second piece of art.  The Westchester County District Attorney has charged him with possession of stolen property when he was found with the ink drawing "Jean Cocteau par Francais Picabia" by Francis Picabia.

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