News and Press Releases

Miami Resident and Mexican National Indicted for Transportation and Possession of Stolen Henri Matisse Painting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jeffrey C. Mazanec, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, of Miami, Florida, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City, Mexico, were indicted today by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Florida on charges of conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen property, and possession of stolen property. Marcuello and Ornelas are scheduled to appear for arraignment on August 1, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Andrea M. Simonton.

The indictment alleges that Marcuello and Ornelas conspired to transport and sell an original Henri Matisse painting, “Odalisque in Red Pants,” which was reported stolen from a Caracas, Venezuela museum. The indictment further alleges that Marcuello negotiated the sale of the Matisse painting for approximately $740,000.00 over the course of several meetings with undercover agents. According to court documents, as part of the negotiations, Marcuello agreed to have the painting transported to the United States from Mexico, where the painting was stored. The indictment alleges that Ornelas transported the Matisse painting to Miami from Mexico City. The indictment further alleges that both Marcuello and Ornelas produced the Matisse painting titled “Odalisque in Red Pants” to undercover agents as part of the purported sales transaction.

If convicted, the defendants each face a possible maximum statutory sentence of ten years in prison.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer would also like to thank the Department of Justice Attaché in Mexico City and the FBI Legal Attachés in Caracas and Mexico City. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa Castrolugo.

An indictment is only an accusation and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attachments:
Indictment (PDF)

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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