MIAMI -- The pair who pled guilty to trying to sell a stolen Matisse painting to undercover FBI agents in South Beach have been sentenced, according to the U.S. States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Monday U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks sentenced Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, of Miami, Florida, to 33 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City, Mexico was sentenced to 21 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release.
The two pled guilty in October 2012 after being charged with transportation, possession and attempted sale of "Odalisque In Red Pants,” a Henri Matisse painting stolen from the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art in Venezuela.
Court documents reveal that Marcuello had a series of meetings with undercover agents, negotiating to sell the $3 million painting to them for $740,000.
Ornelas was used as the courier, officials say, to transport the painting from where it was stored in Mexico through Miami International Airport and finally to the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.
"Odalisque In Red Pants" is thought to have been swapped with a fake around 2002, and although the 1925 painting is now recovered, it has not been returned to Venezuela as of November. (See the forgery and original compared above.)
In August, a crowd of topless women wearing only red pants gathered in front of the Caracas Museum to demand its return as Venezuelan attorney general Luisa Ortega's attempts to reach US officials have reportedly gone unrecognized, according to the Guardian.
Reuters reports there are five other Matisse pieces on the the FBI's National Stolen Art File database, including a collection of 62 sketches.
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