Taylor facing possible 10-year sentence in art theft
Federal prosecutors want a barrier island man accused of stealing valuable pieces of art work – one of which was last seen on the island several years ago – to be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
Sentencing for Matthew Taylor, 45, a Central Beach man who for the most part lived a life of lies and tall tales, is scheduled for May 16.
Should the sentencing hearing be delayed, it won’t be the first time. Or the second or the third time, for that matter.
For nine months now, Taylor has sat in a federal California detention facility waiting to hear how many more years, if any, he will spend behind bars.
During that time, Taylor through his high-priced and high-profile attorney, Harland Braun, has filed scores of documents claiming to have been wrongly accused, jailed and convicted.
Braun is considered one of the best defense attorneys in California for well-healed and well-known clients.
He successfully defended one of the police officers in the Rodney King beating and has also defended Dennis Rodman, Roseanne Barr, Gary Busey and Chris Farley.
Taylor lost an appeal where he claimed he was not of sound mind and body because he was wrongly detained in jail, and was unable to think clearly about whether he should have taken the stand and testified in the case.
But he hasn’t given up.
Just last week, an 18-page document was filed on Taylor’s behalf where he asserts his innocence and blames much of his problems on his dead mother, Patricia Taylor, who also lived here on the Vero barrier island until her death in early 2011.
Taylor, who has celebrated his 44th and 45th birthday behind bars after a judge revoked his bond and put him in detention, could have faced a maximum sentence of 55 years.
Meanwhile, William Karges, the California art dealer who gave Taylor $85,000 for a painting that later turned out to be stolen, is still waiting for Taylor to make good on a $1 million civil judgment he won before Taylor conviction.
“I’ve received nothing – zero,” Karges said. After buying the painting, Karges sold the piece for considerably more money than he paid for it before learning it was stolen.
After returning the money and seeing that the piece of work was turned over to authorities, Karges hired a Miami lawyer and private investigator to try and locate Taylor’s money, much of which has been stowed away in offshore bank accounts.