Louisiana Man Admits Selling Forged Folk Artist Paintings

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By: Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP).- A 79-year-old man admitted Monday that he forged paintings and sold them as work by famous folk artist Clementine Hunter, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said. William Toye of Baton Rouge pleaded guilty in federal court in Lafayette to one count of conspiracy to sell forgeries falsely attributed to Hunter, Finley said in a news release. “This defendant preyed upon the best of what our art community has to offer. It was all motivated by greed,” Finley said. “We hope that this case sends a message of the importance of protecting our artists and those who are patrons of the art.” Toye, his wife, Beryl Ann Toye, 69, and New Orleans art dealer Robert E. Lucky Jr., 63, were charged in February 2010 with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three of mail fraud. Beryl Ann Toye and Lucky are scheduled for trial Aug. 15 before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell in Alexandria. Under the plea agreement, the government wi