ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — An Escondido man who pleaded guilty this year to selling $1.1 million in forged art was sentenced Friday to three years in prison.
Jason Harrington, 38, of Escondido, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for selling the fake artwork he claimed had been created by New York City artist Richard Hambleton.
Hambleton rose to fame in the art world in the 1980s, and was known for his works of a black-silhouetted figure called "Shadowman." Harrington reportedly sold the forged works to at least 15 galleries between 2018 and 2020 for a total of $1.1 million.
Prosecutors said that Harrington supported his false claims by including a fake letter purportedly signed by the person who had obtained the art. Prosecutors added that Harrington, on one occasion, instructed one person to speak with a potential buyer and falsely claim they had obtained the art from the original artist.
Harrington also admitted to attempting to sell at least one forged artwork from portraitist Barkley Hendricks, falsely claiming he had obtained the painting from his uncle. The art gallery refused to buy the painting after Hendricks' widow determined it was a forgery.
"This is a fitting sentence for a defendant who harmed investors, corrupted the integrity of the art market, and damaged the historical-cultural record," said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.
Harrington is set to appear in court again for a restitution hearing on Feb. 11, 2022.