James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $13m in resititution as well as forfeiting $3.9m in money he made from selling 83 works out of Jasper Johns’s studio. The former assistant expressed remorse for his actions but the judge wondered whether he was remorseful over the theft or having gotten caught.
In a presentence submission to the court, defense attorney Morris Fodeman asked for leniency, saying a Manhattan gallery owner persuaded Meyer over a three-year period to give up some of Johns’ works. He said the gallery owner eventually sold 37 works of art for $9.98 million.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Tehrani said in a presentence submission that a significant sentence was necessary “to protect the integrity of the art market and the livelihood and artistic control of those who contribute to it.”
The prosecutor said one buyer who agreed to return the artworks to Johns had spent over $7 million on them.