woman sentenced to six years in theft of ben franklin bust
PHILADELPHIA - Andrea Lawton, 47, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 72 months in prison for one count of interstate transportation of stolen property in connection with the August 2012 theft of a rare bust of Benjamin Franklin. The bust, which was damaged during Lawton’s travels, was sculpted during Benjamin Franklin’s lifetime, 224 years ago. Lawton was familiar with the victim’s home because she had worked for a housecleaning company that serviced the house. She exploited that knowledge so that she and an accomplice could steal the homeowner’s valuables, including one of his most prized possessions. Lawton ran off to Alabama where she hid for weeks while trying to solicit a buyer for the bust. She was arrested after a bus trip to Elkton, Maryland, where IRS and FBI agents recovered the bust in her possession.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones, II, ordered three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Restitution will be ordered pending completion of repairs by a conservator to restore the bust.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lower Merion Police Department, and the United States Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Khan.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525