Jasper Johns’ longtime assistant was charged on Thursday with theft and fraud for allegedly stealing and selling unfinished works of art from the famed painter.
James Meyer, Johns’ assistant for 25 years, stole 22 works since 2006, according to an indictment filed in United States District Court last week.
Working with an unnamed Manhattan-based gallery owner, Meyer sold the 22 pieces for $6.5 million. Meyer pocketed $3.4 million in his personal bank account, according to the indictment.
All 22 pieces were never meant to be sold, the indictment said. They were instead entrusted to Meyer to store and maintain in Johns’ Connecticut-based studio.
It is unclear if Meyer has a lawyer, but he appeared in Connecticut court on Thursday. He has not yet submitted a plea, according to court documents.
Meyer did not return a request for comment.
Johns is a contemporary artist best known for his artistic portrayals of the American flag. He could not be reached for comment.