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Jul 22, 12:22 PM EDT

Man indicted in scheme to sell paintings from art heist


BOSTON (AP) -- A Boston federal jury has indicted a West Virginia man on charges he tried to sell paintings he did not have access to and falsely claimed were stolen in the largest art heist in U.S. history.

Prosecutors allege that 47-year-old Todd Desper, of Beckley, West Virginia, solicited buyers on Craigslist for two paintings he claimed were among 13 stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Authorities say they determined Desper had no access to the paintings and was engaged in a multimillion dollar fraud scheme targeting foreign art buyers.

The FBI has said two suspects who masqueraded as police officers to rob the museum of $500 million worth masterpieces are deceased.

Desper was indicted Thursday on wire fraud charges. His attorney couldn't immediately be reached on Saturday.

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