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TV host pleads guilty in $20M bogus art scam

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/04/10 07:07

A La Canada Flintridge TV host who used a satellite cable show to sell fake prints supposedly signed by such artists as Picasso and Dali pleaded guilty today to federal charges. Kristine Eubanks, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 24, when she faces up to 10 years in prison.

She and her husband, Gerald Sullivan, who pleaded guilty last week, admitted in their plea agreements that they conned more than 10,000 buyers through their "Fine Art Treasures Gallery" show, which aired Friday and Saturday nights on DirecTV and The Dish Network.

Despite the claims on the show, the supposed fine art prints were either bought by the couple or forged at a print shop, according to the government.

Eubanks and Sullivan, 51, fabricated certificates of authenticity and appraisals, and the works bore fake signatures, according to the government.

In pleading guilty, the couple also admitted running up the prices of the fake works by creating fake bids for live auctions.

Eubanks entered her guilty plea to tax evasion and one count of conspiracy. Sullivan pleaded guilty to conspiracy and failing to file tax returns, and faces up to six years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Sullivan, whose sentencing is also set for Sept. 24, is free on bond. His wife, who was on probation when arrested in the art case, remains in custody.

Eubanks' attorney, Donald Randolph said outside court that his client "acknowledged her guilt in these actions today."

Randolph said he will attempt to convince U.S. District Judge Florence- Marie Cooper to "take other factors" from his client's life into consideration at sentencing, but he declined to elaborate.

In addition to the possible prison time, the couple has agreed to forfeit nearly $4 million and various pieces of art seized during the investigation.


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