Archive for May 15th, 2008

CA Museum raids result in arrest, death

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

The January raids on four California museums resulted in the arrest of art historian Roxanna Brown on Friday.

Yesterday, she died in a federal prison of an apparent heart attack.

As is routine with all inmates upon booking, Brown was given a medical screening at the prison. A spokeswoman for the detention center did not disclose the status of that screening.

By Monday, Brown was too ill to appear in court, but did appear briefly Tuesday. She had been charged with one count of wire fraud, allegedly for allowing art collectors to use her electronic signature to overstate the value of items they donated to several Southern California museums. The collectors then claimed fraudulent tax deductions, investigators said.

Brown was a vocal anti-looting advocate. Her position was that buyers of antiquities should only consider purchasing finds from well-documented official digs. Anything short of that was likely to result in buying stolen goods.

How to reconcile this highly ethical stance with the tax fraud charges, I have no idea. Now she will never have the chance to clear her name, although I’m certain the investigation will continue.

:(

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