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Not guilty plea in LA from alleged Fla. art forger

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March 12, 2012 11:28 PM EST | AP


LOS ANGELES — A Florida man has pleaded not guilty to defrauding a Los Angeles art collector out of more than $2 million by selling him forgeries of the work of Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.

Matthew Taylor of Vero Beach entered the plea Monday in a Los Angeles federal court to seven felony counts, including wire fraud and money laundering.

He is scheduled to go to trial April 3.

Prosecutors say the 43-year-old former art dealer is accused of altering paintings from unknown artists to make them appear to be from their famous counterparts, then selling the bogus pieces at sky-high prices.

Authorities say he also placed fake labels on the artwork to claim they were once part of prestigious collections at museums like the Guggenheim in New York.