MANHATTAN — A chauffeur and caretaker who stole an Andy Warhol silkscreen and $3.2 million from his elderly boss, an heir to the Pulitzer newspaper fortune, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday, authorities said Thursday.
James Stephen Biear, 51, used his position as an assistant to poet, art collector and editor Kenward Elmslie to pilfer Warhol's silkscreen of Heinz 57 ketchup bottles on a wooden crate and swipe several other works by well-known artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Alex Katz, according to the FBI.
Biear worked for Elmslie, the grandson of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, for two years and gained access to the millionaire's bank accounts, credit cards and art collection.
Biear stole the Warhol, then sold it to a New York City collector for $220,000, claiming the artwork was a gift from his uncle.
In reality, the famous pop artist had given the silkscreen to Elmslie, now 83, in 1964.
Biear was found guilty in November 2010 of 10 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property, wire, mail, bank, and credit card fraud and money laundering.