Man accused of killing wife sentenced in separate case involving sale of fake Andy Warhol paintings

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man charged with killing his wife was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years behind bars over an unrelated art fraud case involving the sale of two fake Andy Warhol paintings.

Brian Walshe, who faces first-degree murder and other charges in the death of 39-year-old Ana Walshe, was sentenced to 37 months for selling two fake Andy Warhol paintings. He was also ordered to pay $475,000 in restitution.

In 2016, a buyer found an advertisement for the two paintings on eBay, two of Warhol’s “Shadows,” a series of untitled, abstract paintings from 1978, prosecutors said.

After paying Walshe $80,000 for the abstract paintings, the buyer didn’t find any promised Warhol Foundation authentication stamps on the paintings, prosecutors said. The person also noticed the canvas and staples looked new and that the painting didn't look identical to those in the eBay ad, concluding the paintings must not be authentic. The buyer tried and failed to get his money back.

Walshe's scheme, prosecutors said, started with his selling the two original Warhol paintings in 2011 to a gallery. From there, he obtained replicas of the paintings in 2015 and sold those to a buyer in France before trying to sell the two fake abstracts on eBay.

A lawyer for Walshe had requested time served. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Walshe still faces a potential trial in the murder case, in which he is accused of killing Ana Walshe and dismembering her and disposing of her body. The couple's three children were placed in state custody.

Ana Walshe, who is originally from Serbia, was last seen early on Jan. 1 following a New Year’s Eve dinner at her Massachusetts home with her husband and a family friend, prosecutors said.

Brian Walshe said she was called back to Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Day for a work emergency. He didn’t contact her employer until Jan. 4, saying she was missing. The company — the first to notify police that Ana Walshe was missing — said there was no emergency, prosecutors said.

Ana Walshe divided her time between the nation's capital, where she worked for an international property management company, and the family home in the affluent coastal community of Cohasset, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) southeast of Boston.

Brian Walshe had been on home confinement with some exceptions while awaiting sentencing in the art fraud case.

Prosecutors have said that starting Jan. 1 and for several days after, Brian Walshe made multiple online searches for “dismemberment and best ways to dispose of a body,” “how long before a body starts to smell” and “hacksaw best tool to dismember.”

Investigators said they found Jan. 3 surveillance video of a man resembling Brian Walshe throwing what appeared to be heavy trash bags into a dumpster at an apartment complex in Abington, not far from Cohasset.

Prosecutors also said that Ana Walshe had taken out $2.7 million in life insurance naming her husband as the sole beneficiary. Miner said Brian Walshe was not in need of money. She said his mother, who is wealthy, has given “tens of thousands of dollars” to the couple.