Dealer who unlawfully sold art jailed

|News, Fraud and economic crime , Proceeds of crime , International and organised crime

A Cotswold art dealer, who unlawfully sold dozens of paintings depicting many famous names, has been jailed for four years at Gloucester Crown Court.

Jonathan Poole, 69, an art dealer known for his many celebrity clients, was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court having admitted multiple theft and fraud offences at an earlier hearing.

Over three decades of offending it is estimated Poole, of Poulton near Cirencester, made over £500,000 by selling artwork he was not entitled to and taking all - or a percentage of - the profits. The stolen artworks had various owners, including the estates of music legends Miles Davis and John Lennon.

Among the paintings he unlawfully sold were portraits of music stars Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr as well as model Kate Moss and Marilyn Monroe. Some of the artwork had been painted by Jagger's Rolling Stones band mate Ronnie Wood.

The court heard how Poole ran into financial difficulties and closed his galleries in Compton Cassey and Fossebridge, both in Gloucestershire. After the closure, efforts were made to trace the stolen artworks and return them to their rightful owners but some have never been located.

James Ward, from the CPS, said: "Jonathan Poole was a reputable art dealer who abused his position of trust in the most discreditable way. Many of the pieces of art were extremely valuable and there is no doubt Poole was well aware of this.

"Through careful analysis of financial transactions spanning several decades, the CPS built a strong case and faced with the evidence against him, Poole pleaded guilty. While some of the stolen artwork may never be recovered, I hope today's sentence provides some comfort to the victims whose trust was breached by Poole."

The CPS will now instigate proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act in order to recover the defrauded funds.

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