NEWPORT BEACH ARTIST TO BE BROUGHT BACK FROM TEXAS ON WARRANT FOR PICASSO SKETCH SCAM

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 08HF0204

February 6, 2008

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

NEWPORT BEACH ARTIST TO BE BROUGHT
BACK FROM TEXAS ON WARRANT FOR
PICASSO SKETCH SCAM

NEWPORT BEACH – A Newport Beach artist waived extradition yesterday, February 5, 2008, in Texas in a case involving a real Picasso and fake promises. Michael Jon Schofield, 60, was arrested in Dallas, TX, on February 1, 2008 on a $50,000 warrant by the Dallas Police Department after authorities received a tip about his whereabouts. Schofield is charged with two felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of fictitious instruments, and faces a maximum of four years and four months in prison if convicted. Schofield will be brought back to Orange County before February 14, 2008 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The date and time is to be determined.

 

Schofield is accused of being put in contact with a Newport Beach resident, who owned an original Pablo Picasso sketch, by a third party familiar with the art industry. The artwork owner wanted to sell the sketch, valued at $200,000, and agreed to pay Schofield a 5 percent commission to find a buyer.  Schofield is accused of taking the Picasso and agreeing to sell it on behalf of the owner.

 

After receiving the artwork, Schofield is accused of meeting victim Jeffrey Stokes at Keans coffee shop in Newport Beach. On May 24, 2007, the defendant is accused of falsely claiming to be the owner of the Picasso sketch to Stokes. Schofield is accused of telling Stokes that he was launching a new cable television program on art sales. He is accused of convincing Stokes to loan him $40,000 and giving him the Picasso as security for the loan.

 

In August of 2007, Stokes asked Schofield to help him move his art collection from one home to the other. Schofield is accused of agreeing to help and stealing the Picasso from the victim during the move.

 

On December 19, 2007, Schofield is accused of giving Stokes a bad $5,000 check under the guise of making an initial repayment for the $40,000 loan. When the victim went to cash the check, Schofield’s bank account had insufficient funds.

 

Schofield is accused of also meeting victim William Patton at Keans. Patton had an art collection and wanted to repair a valuable piece that was damaged. Schofield is accused of dropping off the painting to be repaired for Patton, and collecting $1,850 from Patton under the pretense that Schofield had prepaid for repair work when he had not.

 

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Varner is prosecuting this case.

 

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