Couple charged with trying to sell fake Warhols

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Andy Warhol didn't create pictures of Alec Baldwin's nonexistent brother. And he sure wouldn't have done it when he was dead.

But two Utahns, a 65-year-old Cottonwood Heights man and a 29-year-old woman from Saratoga Springs, were charged Wednesday with trying to sell similar pieces of fake art to a collector by passing them off as real.

According to charging documents, the couple agreed to sell another man six Andy Warhol art pieces for $100,000 in February 2008. The man was told that the subject of the art was Mathew Baldwin, purportedly one of the brothers in the family of actors. The pieces were signed and dated 1996.

After giving the couple a down payment of $25,000, the man took the art to an appraiser in California. The appraiser informed the man the art was fake because there was no Mathew in the famous Baldwin family. He also pointed out that the signatures were forged because Warhol died in 1987, charging documents state.

The Saratoga Springs woman then tried in March to exchange the fake Warhol artwork with the man for a painting she claimed was worth nearly $70 million. He declined the offer. An appraiser later determined the painting was only worth $1,000 .

In a third instance, the couple claimed to have a lithograph of a pink cat done by Warhol that they wanted to give the man to pay him back for his earlier down payment, charging documents state.

The pair said it was worth about $35,000, but the man removed the artwork from the frame and discovered it was a piece of newspaper.

Both are charged with theft by deception and communications fraud, second-degree felonies. They also face six third-degree felony charges of forgery.