The United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced today that it has charged James Meyer, a former studio assistant to Jasper Johns, with interstate transportation of stolen property and wire fraud after he allegedly consigned 22 unfinished works from Mr. Johns’s Connecticut studio to a Manhattan gallery without the artist’s knowledge. The sales of the works allegedly brought in $6.5 million for the gallery, of which $3.4 million went to Mr. Meyer.
Mr. Meyer, 51, worked for Mr. Johns, 83, for over 25 years and allegedly sold the works (mostly likely drawings as they are said to have been taken from a “studio file drawer”) between September 2006 and February 2012. He allegedly made a deal with the gallery, only referred to as the “Gallery” in the indictment, that the works could not be displayed or resold until eight years after they were sold, perhaps in an effort to cover his tracks. He faces a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.