Leicester

Leicester art teacher jailed over paintings fraud

A former art teacher has been jailed for 18 months for selling paintings he claimed were by well-known artists.

Rizvan Rahman, 40, of Malvern Road, Leicester, admitted 10 counts of selling fake paintings at Leicester Crown Court.

He took almost £180,000 for selling the paintings, which included forgeries of works by Mary Fedden and Cornish artist Jack Pender.

Sotherbys and Bonhams were among the auction houses that spotted the fakes.

In sentencing, Judge Ebraham Mooncey said: "It is clear that for nearly two years you were involved in defrauding members of the public, art galleries and artists.

"Your motive was your greed."

After the hearing, Det Con Jason Helmn, of Leicestershire Police, said: "To be able to pass off fake paintings as genuine paintings and also provide documentation and more importantly give provenance for the paintings is very clever indeed.

"I'm sure he did a lot of research before he actually sold these paintings.

"Mr Rahman's reputation was pretty renowned in art world. After the first couple of galleries I contacted, it quickly became quite obvious that Mr Rahman was well-known and his reputation for selling fake paintings went before him.

"He hasn't admitted to forging them himself but we suspect he may have done that."

Robin Pender, son of artist Jack Pender, whose work was forged, said: "It does come as a massive shock when you realise the extent and the effort that the forger had gone to in order to reproduce this work."

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