Miami, Fla. –
Police and FBI agents have arrested two men trying to sell a stolen Matisse painting worth $3 million. The 1925 painting, “Odalisque in Red Pants” was stolen from a Venezuelan museum and replaced by a forgery and authorities here say the two suspects were trying to sell it from their Miami Beach Loews hotel room.
In a scene like a hit TV show “White Collar”, the FBI set up a sting operation where the two attempted to sell the valuable painting to undercover agents. No word on who played Niel Caffery but the original painting was recovered.
Following an almost 10 year investigation after museum curators noticed the piece on the wall was a fake, a global search by law enforcement around the world has resulted in Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, of Miami, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City now being accused of possessing and transporting the stolen art and trying to sell it for $740,000.
Both are being held in the Miami-Dade County Jail. if convicted they could face up to 10 years in federal prison.
The Caracas Contemporary Art Museum had bought the piece in 1981.
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