Man who tried to sell fake Lucian Freud painting on eBay sentenced

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A man who tried to pass off a fake Lucian Freud painting as a genuine on eBay has been sentenced for fraud.

Vincent Dyer, 66, attempted to sell the fake version of the famous portrait of the artist Francis Bacon for £3,000.

The original five- by seven-inch oil painting on copper had belonged to the Tate before it was stolen from a Berlin art gallery in 1988. The piece, worth millions of pounds, has never been recovered and remains an unsolved art world mystery.

In the eBay advert Dyer wrote: "In very good condition. Has been kept in secure storage for many years." He also claimed the painting had been a gift to his father from Lucian Freud himself. The copy had in fact been bought by Dyer in 2012.

Today (Tuesday, 4 June) at Isleworth Crown Court, Dyer was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours of unpaid work and £600 in costs. The judge also ordered the painting to be destroyed. Dyer was convicted of three counts of fraud following a trial at the same court which concluded on 1 May.

Marie Olo, from the CPS, said: "Vincent Dyer dishonestly tried to sell a replica of a well-known Lucian Freud painting to make a gain for himself.

"He claimed the false advert had only ever been a 'sales pitch' to attract interest, but the prosecution was able to prove that he had deliberately aimed to mislead the public into believing he was selling a famed 1952 original.

"Art fraud is illegal and the CPS will prosecute those who seek to deceive the public."

Notes to editors

  • Vincent Dyer (DOB: 11.02.1953) is from Greenford in the London borough of Ealing.
  • Following a trial he was convicted on 1 May of three counts of fraud relating to three eBay adverts of the same painting posted on: 9 September 2017, 30 September 2017 and 8 February 2018.
  • Marie Olo is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS London North.

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