Brian Walshe: Husband of missing Massachusetts mom Ana had admitted to selling fake Warhol paintings
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Brian Walshe, the husband of Ana Walshe, who went missing on New Year's day after failing to catch a work flight to Washington, DC, pleaded guilty to selling fake copies of Andy Warhol paintings on eBay in April 2021. It is reported that he tried selling the paintings for about $100,000 each.
Brian, 48, pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston in 2021 after being arrested a few years ago for selling two fake Andy Warhol paintings to a South Korean buyer for $80,000, federal prosecutors said. Walshe took the paintings from a friend and sold them on eBay, only to switch them out for fakes, as per Daily Mail.
It was November 2016 when an eBay user, Ron Rivlin, the owner of Revolver Gallery in Los Angeles, found Brian selling two Andy Warhol paintings for $100,000 each, Boston Herald reported. The paintings on eBay were from Warhol's 'Shadows' series, abstract paintings the artist created in 1978. Brian also included a photo of an invoice from the Warhol Foundation on the listing in which he claimed he bought the paintings and showed he paid $240,000 for them. Given the proof included on eBay, Rivlin believed they were authentic and contacted Walshe in early November to arrange a purchase of both paintings outside of eBay for $80,000.
In a contract the pair signed, it was clearly stated that Rivlin had three days to get a refund from Brian, according to the Massachusetts District Attorney's office. Rivlin's assistant flew to Boston on 7 November to collect the paintings and gave Brian a cashier's check of $80,000, which was deposited earlier that same day. When Rivlin saw the paintings the next day, he found that there were no authentication stamps on the back from the Warhol Foundation and that the canvasses were fairly new, according to the Daily Mail.
He reportedly compared the paintings to the photographs on eBay and concluded they were different. After concluding that the paintings were inauthentic he tried to reach out to Brian repeatedly but his calls went unanswered. According to the DA's office, when Brian replied, he made several excuses for not refunding the money immediately. Later, Brian refunded Rivlin just $30,000 of the $80,000. The gallery owner then contacted the FBI.
Court records show there have been several issues surrounding Brian's sentencing. Initially, he was scheduled for home confinement but the current status of the case is not clear yet. William Quigley, who is the Cohasset Police Chief, said in a press conference that the case appears to be completely unrelated to Ana's disappearance who has not been seen since New Year's day.It has been reported that Brian has been really cooperative in the search for his wife, Ana.