Heads of British Auction House Cameo Found Guilty of Fraud

An auctioneer's gavel raised dramatically. Photo by Julien Behal/PA Images via Getty Images.

Jonathan King, head of the Berkshire, UK-based Cameo Fine Art Auctioneers, has been found guilty on seven counts, including fraud by abuse of position.

According to the BBC, the fine art and antiques auctioneer, who ran the business alongside his wife and brother-in-law, took thousands of pounds of customers’ money to bankroll a lavish lifestyle, which included a £7,000 holiday in Dubai.

King’s wife, Beverley King, was found guilty of acquisition, retention, and use or control of criminal property. Her brother, Glenn Norcliffe, was found guilty of a further three charges, including fraud. The Reading Crown Court jury delivered the verdict on December 18.

According to the Antiques Trade Gazette, there was some commotion during the six-week trial, with the 63-year-old Mr. King falling ill and missing the jury’s guilty verdicts.

During the trial, the jury heard that Cameo was deeply in debt and subsequently went bankrupt in 2012. Hundreds of customers complained the auctioneer had taken and sold their goods but had never paid any proceeds back to them.

Cameo made up to £250,000 between January 2008 and May 2012. But, according to Gordon Menzies, the prosecution lawyer, “It was not just that clients were finding difficulties and delays in getting their money back, they were not getting it back at all.” The trio will be sentenced on March 6.

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