Convicted British Art Fraudster Angela Hamblin Has Been Arrested in Germany After Living on the Lam for More Than a Decade
Neighbors of the 'eccentric' 73-year-old, who was hiding in northern Scotland, were not surprised she involved in selling fakes.
According to residents of a small town in northern Scotland quoted in the Daily Mail, Angela Hamblin seemed like an eccentric, outgoing, lovely woman. But it turns out that she was a fugitive who was living on the lam after pleading guilty to fraud in the U.S. for selling nearly £500,000 ($610,000) work of fake art.
Confessed fraudster Angela Hamblin disappeared in 2009 after being sentenced to 12 months in prison by a New York court for peddling fakes privately and on eBay. While living in Massachusetts with her husband, an Ivy League professor, Hamblin sold works she claimed were by fine artists including Franz Kline, Milton Avery, Juan Gris, and J.M.W. Turner. When her buyers discovered the works were fake, she would simply refund them and sell the paintings to someone else, prosecutors said.
When she was caught by authorities, she initially denied the charges but eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Hamblin said she turned to crime because she was under pressure to meet her mortgage payments.
“She had been carrying out her scheme for years,” U.S. prosecutors said in 2007, according to the Daily Mail. ”But she was arrested in a sting after. She continued her fraud relentlessly.”
And while she showed up for her sentencing hearing in 2009, where she was handed a sentence of one year and one day, she did not turn herself over to authorities as ordered, fleeing to the U.K. instead.
Hamblin was recently detained in Germany on an international arrest warrant, after she changed flights in Frankfurt on her way back to Scotland from a trip to Vienna, the Daily Mail reports. She now faces extradition to the U.S., where she would likely have to complete her prison sentence .
Locals in the small town of St. Boswells on the Scottish Borders, where she and her husband had been living, seemed divided in their opinions of her—although no one was shocked that she had been involved in a fraud.
“They are highly eccentric,” local barman Alex Gilham said of Hamblin and her husband, according to the Daily Mail. ” She’s really outgoing, they’re mad in their own way but they’re really lovely. It doesn’t surprise me that she could have done something unusual, they’re not really the type to have an office job,” he added.
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