Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ANGELA CATHERINE HAMBLIN, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was extradited today from Germany to the United States to serve a prison sentence for selling fake works of art through a commercial auction website and in private transactions. After pleading guilty in 2009, HAMBLIN was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. However, HAMBLIN failed to report to U.S. prison authorities as ordered and instead fled the United States to the United Kingdom. She was re-arrested on May 31, 2022, while changing planes at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Hamblin went to great lengths to avoid accountability for her crimes, but this Office and the FBI have long memories and benefit greatly from our cooperation with international partners. Despite some 13 years on the run, Hamblin was apprehended last year as she changed flights in Germany and today returns to face justice and serve her time in prison.”
As alleged in the Indictment and other documents and statements made in Court:
For about five months in 2007, HAMBLIN engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell at least four paintings that she represented to be works of such artists as Joseph Mallord William Turner (a British watercolorist and printmaker), Milton Avery (an American abstract expressionist painter), Franz Kline (an American abstract painter), and Juan Gris (a Spanish Cubist painter and sculptor), when she knew that the paintings were not authentic works of art by these famed artists. HAMBLIN made various claims about where she acquired the paintings, including that she or her husband had inherited the paintings from relatives and that they purchased one of the paintings from a then-deceased seller. With respect to one of the paintings, HAMBLIN claimed that the artist had given it to George Balanchine, the choreographer, who had in turn sold it to her great-grandfather.
HAMBLIN was re-arrested on May 31, 2022, when she changed planes in Frankfurt, Germany, on a flight from Vienna, Austria, to the United Kingdom. Following an order of extradition by German authorities, HAMBLIN was flown today from Frankfurt to New York City and transported to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to serve her prison sentence.
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HAMBLIN, 74, of St. Boswells, Scotland, pled guilty on February 16, 2009, to two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. She was sentenced on July 14, 2009, by United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska to one year and one day in prison.
Mr. Williams praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Art Crime Team/New York Major Theft Task Force for their outstanding investigative work on HAMBLIN’s scheme to sell counterfeit art. Mr. Williams also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Marshals Service, and German authorities for their assistance in the extradition.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raymond Lewis is in charge of the prosecution.