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The FBI Seizes 25 Jean-Michel Basquiat Paintings from Florida Museum Because They Could Be Fakes


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has obtained 25 Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings after raiding a museum that may have been involved in fraud.

Back in February, the Orlando Museum of Art opened its Basquiat’s “Heroes and Monsters” exhibit. At some point, the exhibit – which was slated to come to an end on June 30, began raising some concerns over the authenticity of the paintings and how they were obtained.

Afterward, investigators obtained a search warrant to look into the matter. In a 41-page affidavit, authorities detailed why they believed the current owners of the artwork could be found guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud. The artwork itself was picked up from a Los Angeles warehouse in 2012, Yahoo! Entertainment reports.

The speculation led to an investigation being launched. As a result of the probe, the FBI seized 25 paintings, saying the investigation revealed “false on information related to the alleged prior ownership of the paintings” and “attempts to sell the paintings using false provenance.”

Emilia Bourmas-Fry, a spokesperson for the exhibit, says the museum doesn’t believe it “is the subject of any investigation.”


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