Florida man indicted on a charge of allegedly peddling phony paintings
The Manhattan district attorney indicted a Florida pastor Thursday for trying to sell a collection of counterfeit artwork for $185,000 that he allegedly claimed was by bad-boy artist Damien Hirst.
Kevin Sutherland, 45, who news reports list as a pastor of the Miami Mosaic Church (which offers paintball outings on its website), allegedly tried to consign a "Hirst spin painting," to Sotheby's in December.
The auction house showed the work to Hirst's London studio, Science Ltd. which determined it was a forgery. Science Ltd. then contacted the Manhattan district attorney, and cops staged a sting in which an undercover detective posed as a collector asking to buy Hirst work from Sutherland.
Sutherland, who was arrested last month and is out on bond, could face two and one-third to seven years in prison on the attempted grand larceny charge for trying to sell the three dot prints and two spin paintings.
Sutherland's lawyer, Laurence Spollen, was not available for comment Thursday, but he has previously told The New York Times that his client intends to contest the charges.