Beckley man charged in scheme to sell paintings from $500M art heist

BOSTON (AP) – A West Virginia man has been charged in Massachusetts with trying to sell paintings he did not have access to and falsely claimed were stolen in the largest art heist in U.S. history.

Todd Desper, of Beckley, West Virginia, faces wire fraud charges in federal court in Boston. It couldn’t be determined Monday if he has an attorney.

Authorities say Desper solicited buyers on Craigslist for two paintings he claimed were among 13 stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Authorities say they determined Desper had no access to the paintings and was engaged in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme targeting foreign art buyers.

The FBI has said two suspects who masqueraded as police officers to rob the museum of $500 million worth masterpieces are deceased.

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