Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Robert Gentile Walks Into Trap Laid By FBI Doing Their Job


Update:

Convict offered sale of art stolen in 1990 heist, prosecutor says

A Connecticut convict with loyalties to a Philadelphia crime family told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to two of the long-sought paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and could negotiate a sale of each for $500,000, a prosecutor said Monday.
Robert Gentile, a 78-year-old reputed mobster who was released from prison most recently a year ago, allegedly made the offer within the last several months to an agent posing as a drug dealer looking for help with a large-scale marijuana operation, prosecutor John Durham said.
The discussion Monday of the biggest art heist in U.S. history came at a hearing where the judge ordered Gentile detained following his arrest Friday on allegations that he sold a handgun for $1,000 to a convicted murderer who wanted it to collect a drug debt.
Gentile's attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client began working with the FBI 3 1/2 years ago to aid in the recovery of the stolen artwork. But because the FBI believes Gentile has not been forthcoming with everything he knows about the heist, McGuigan said, the agency has set up his client for arrests twice in the last three years.
"It's my argument that a crime isn't committed if it's not orchestrated by the FBI," said McGuigan, who said his client is not withholding any information.
Over the last 25 years, the FBI has chased thousands of leads around the world in the investigation into the theft of artwork worth an estimated $500 million, including Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee." Gentile's alleged assertions would suggest significant new evidence, but it's unclear what came of the offer to negotiate the artworks' sale, and the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on how it was interpreted by investigators.
On March 18, 1990, two men posing as police officers stole 13 pieces of art including paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Johannes Vermeer. The paintings have never been found and nobody has been charged in the robbery.
Two years ago, the FBI in Boston said investigators believed the thieves belonged to a criminal organization based in New England and the mid-Atlantic. They believe the art was taken to Connecticut and Pennsylvania in the years after the theft and offered for sale in Philadelphia. After that, the trail went cold.
The museum is offering a $5 million reward for the return of the artwork, and the government is offering immunity from prosecution.
Durham, who said Gentile has sworn an oath to the Philadelphia mafia, said at the hearing that Gentile was not truthful in his discussions with the FBI about the missing pieces. He said Gentile told the undercover agent that he believed federal law enforcement would come after him even if he gave up information on the art.
McGuigan said if his client had information on the artwork, he would have given it up to be with his ill daughter, who died while he was in jail. In 2012, the FBI fruitlessly searched Gentile's property in Manchester, Connecticut, even using ground-penetrating radar.
As he ordered Gentile to be detained pending trial on the gun charge, Judge Thomas Smith said the Gardner paintings were not a focus of the case before him, but he told the defendant in the wheelchair that he was alarmed by the level of mafia-related criminal activity attributed to him by prosecutors.
"If in fact what Mr. Durham says is true, and you were a member, it's time that you took senior status," he said.

Reputed Mobster May Be Last Link to Gardner Museum Art Heist

He may have a snappy nickname — the Cook — but Robert V. Gentile is no Hollywood director’s vision of a master art thief.
He is 79, reliant on a wheelchair, and has diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. He never made it past the seventh grade. Though he is listed by the authorities as a full-fledged member of the Mafia with a criminal history stretching back to the 1950s, he lives with his ailing wife in a rundown ranch-style house in the suburbs of Hartford and drives a 1989 Buick.
But to federal investigators, Mr. Gentile may be the last living person who can lead them to the masterpieces taken in the largest art heist in American history — an enduring whodunit pulled off 25 years ago at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
In a conversation last year with a confidential informant wearing a recording device, the authorities say, Mr. Gentile boasted that he had access to two of the paintings snatched from the museum, one of them a Rembrandt, and could arrange a sale for $500,000 or more.
Mr. Gentile’s lawyer said that the authorities also believe that he traveled to Philadelphia in 2003 with another man and two of the Gardner’s paintings, including “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt — one of 13 items taken from the museum — with hopes of selling them to underworld associates there.
“There is a 99 percent certainty that Mr. Gentile was lying when he said he didn’t know anything about the Gardner Museum robbery before it happened, he had never seen any of the Gardner paintings and didn’t know where any of them were,” John H. Durham, an assistant United States attorney, said during a court session on Monday.
Mr. Gentile has not been charged in the museum theft. He was in court because he was arrested last week on charges of selling a loaded revolver to an F.B.I. informant. It was the second sting operation aimed at him in three years, both connected to investigators’ belief that Mr. Gentile knows the whereabouts of the items lifted from the Gardner in March 1990 by a pair of thieves disguised as police officers.
Other men identified by the authorities as the leading suspects or persons of interest in the case are all dead.
Mr. Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, says, though, that in relation to the Gardner theft all his client has ever been guilty of is braggadocio and a thirst for attention.
“My client was talking about a fictitious deal with an F.B.I. plant,” Mr. McGuigan said. “It’s all made-up talk.”
Mr. McGuigan’s reasoning is founded in the fact that the statute of limitations for the museum break-in has expired, so his client cannot be charged in the case. Why, the lawyer asks, would Mr. Gentile not lead investigators to the missing trove and collect a share of the $5 million reward being offered by the museum?
“Would he really pass on a chance to get $5 million if he knew something?” Mr. McGuigan said.
For law enforcement, though, the recent recording and the account of a trip to Philadelphia bolster a tip that F.B.I. agents received about Mr. Gentile in 2009. The widow of a Boston mobster told them that her husband had met with Mr. Gentile in the parking lot of a lobster house in Portland, Me., sometime between 2002 and 2004 and put several of the stolen pieces in the trunk of Mr. Gentile’s car.

In 2010, investigators tried to entice Mr. Gentile to reveal any knowledge he had about the works of art by talking up the $5 million reward, but he rebuffed the offer.
Agents then embarked on a sting operation the following year that resulted in Mr. Gentile’s arrest in the sale of hundreds of narcotic painkillers that he had been prescribed for his chronic back problems.
Mr. McGuigan said if Mr. Gentile had known anything about the missing art, he would have taken the deal to avoid prison time for selling painkillers because it would have allowed him to be with his daughter, who was dying from cancer at the time.
“Why would he sit in prison rotting while his daughter dies of cancer if he could make a deal on the paintings?” he asked.
He added, “My client never has and never will have any information about anything to do with the Gardner case.”
But investigators said Mr. Gentile may never reveal what he knows about the missing artworks because he has an Old World approach to working with law enforcement — he loathes federal authorities and does not trust the F.B.I. to leave him alone or help him get the reward if he cooperates.
Mr. Gentile is described by federal authorities as a member of the Philadelphia Mafia who once worked as a bodyguard for one of its lieutenants. Dating back more than six decades, his criminal record includes aggravated assault, receiving stolen goods, illegal gambling and counterfeiting, according to court records. He was also convicted of larceny for mishandling his father’s estate, of which he was executor.
Mr. Gentile has worked as a bricklayer and a cement mason and ran an Italian restaurant with his brother. He became known as the Cook because he would prepare meals for mob associates with whom he spent time at a Hartford garage that was a gangster hangout.
In February 2012, federal agents searched Mr. Gentile’s home and found several illegal firearms and silencers. The agents dug up part of Mr. Gentile’s land and searched a shed in his backyard and say they found a list of each item taken from the Gardner with prices indicating their black market value.
Mr. Gentile’s wife, Patricia, said in a brief interview on Friday that the authorities just will not leave her husband alone.
“He doesn’t know anything about it, but they will never believe him,” she said. “If he knew where they were, he’d be a millionaire.”

Feds: Mob Soldier Gentile Claimed Access To Priceless Art That Vanished In Notorious Heist

Feds: Mob Soldier Gentile Claimed Access To Priceless Art That Vanished In Notorious Heist
HARTFORD -- A federal prosecutor said in court Monday that Hartford mobster Robert Gentile told an FBI undercover operative that he had access to the art masterworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and would be willing "to sell individual paintings for $500,000."
But minutes later, the wheelchair bound Gentile's lawyer said Gentile had nothing to do with the notorious 1990 Gardner heist or knowledge of what became of the paintings.
The exchange took place in U.S. District Court in Hartford following the 79-year old Gentile's arrest on Friday for selling a loaded handgun to a convicted murderer.
After hearing of Gentile's history of crime, the circumstances of his latest offense and of his boasts about being a sworn member of a Philadelphia crime family, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Smith ordered Gentile rolled out of his courtroom by guards and held without bail.
"He's a danger to the society in which we live," Smith said.

Federal prosecutor John Durham refused outside of court to elaborate on his remarks linking Gentile to the stolen Gardner paintings.
While arguing in court against Gentile's release on bail, Durham said the gangster, who lives in Manchester, claimed to an FBI operative that he was able to "retrieve certain paintings" and that he would "sell individual paintings for $500,000."

When the operative asked why Gentile didn't simply turn in the paintings for the $5 million reward, Durham said, " Based on Mr. Gentile's own words, he felt the feds were going to come after him anyway even if he was going to turn in the paintings for the $5 million."

Gentile, who the FBI believes may be the last, best hope for tracking down hundreds of millions of dollars in art stolen from the Gardner museum, was arrested again Friday.
Durham disclosed the latest link between Gentile and the stolen art on Friday at Gentile's arraignment on charges of selling a gun to an undercover operative.
Others with knowledge of the case said that there is nothing to indicate that Gentile had stolen paintings to sell and that he may have been trying to orchestrate a swindle.
FBI agents have been pressing Gentile for five years in the belief that he can tell them what became of 13 priceless paintings that at least two thieves stole from the Gardner early on the morning of March 18, 1999. The baffling heist, the subject of multiple books, may be the most notorious art case ever.
The trail left by the thieves had been cold for years when the FBI and a museum representative questioned the widow of a Boston gangster at her remote home in the Maine woods and she told them that her dead husband may have passed Gentile two of the paintings years earlier, before the gangsters sat down over a boiled lobster luncheon at a Portland, Maine, hotel.
The assertion has never been substantiated, but it put Gentile under the FBI microscope. Since then it has been learned that Gentile, known in Hartford as a knock around hood, had been living a secret life in Boston, where he had been inducted into the New England branch of a Philadelphia mafia family.
Gentile, in an interview denied any knowledge of the Gardner job or the missing art, which some value at $500 million. Among the stolen masterworks are three Rembrandts — including his only known seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" — a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas. One source close to the investigation said Gentile is the best lead that authorities have had in 22 years.
"Lies, all lies," Gentile has told The Courant
People with knowledge of the circumstances leading to Gentile's arrest Friday and his recorded statements about selling stolen paintings said both were the result of a law enforcement sting. Gentile thought he was speaking with representatives of a wealthy businessman who wanted to buy stolen art, the people with knowledge of the case said.

HARTFORD, Connecticut — A federal prosecutor says a Hartford crime figure told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to two paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and was willing to negotiate a sale of individual works for $500,000.
Prosecutor John Durham said at a hearing Monday that Robert Gentile made the offer recently to an agent posing as a drug dealer looking for help with a marijuana operation.
The judge ordered Gentile detained following his arrest Friday on weapons charges.
Defense attorney A. Ryan McGuigan says his client was set up by FBI agents who claim Gentile has more information than he has shared about the unsolved theft of artwork worth an estimated $500 million.
The Gardner pieces have never been found and nobody has been charged.
Art Hostage Comments:
 Interesting that the lawyer for Robert Gentile, A. Ryan McGuigan says his client started to work with FBI three and a half years ago, the plot thickens then, not just the usual Cat and Mouse we were led to believe of the FBI trying to sting the Gardner art recovery?

If the offer made by Robert Gentile to the Undercover FBI Agent of selling two Gardner artworks is correct then why did the FBI Undercover not seek to close the deal and recover the two said Gardner artworks, given this discussion between Bobby Gentile and the Undercover FBI Agent was back on March 5th 2015?
Was the offer by Bobby Gentile just a bluff and a scam attempt, if so it has backfired spectacularly and he now finds himself in deep trouble.
However, it must be said Bobby Gentile does himself no favours by selling a gun to a convicted murderer, who was described as an Undercover FBI Operative, meaning the convicted murderer was being used by the FBI to trap Bobby Gentile into selling him a gun.
Bobby Gentile should have realised the FBI were all over him, watching his every move in fine detail, his days as a mobster were over and he should have retired from criminality, especially given he is the focus of the Gardner Art Heist case and caught in the cross hairs of FBI interest.
Also, if Bobby Gentile was willing to sell two Gardner artworks for $500,000 each illegally, then why was he not offered the same deal from the Museum reward offer and immunity from prosecution if he returned the Gardner artworks?
Could the fact the Gentile lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan has a signed deal giving him 40% of any money paid for Gardner artworks being recovered be a reason why Bobby Gentile went outside the remit of that deal?
Truth is authorities want to arrest and indict anyone trying to return the Gardner artworks as the Gardner case has mutated into such a huge political spectacle, if it is seen as a recovery without arrests and any payments made, it sends the wrong message and shows authorities in a negative light.
All this bluster has not produced a single Gardner artwork to date?
Mind you, there is reason to wonder if indeed a Gardner artwork was returned, historically, and that has been kept from the public?

Feds Disclose Recording Of Gardner Museum Heist Suspect Negotiating Sale Of Art

Robert Gentile, the Hartford mobster the FBI believes may be the last, best hope for tracking down hundreds of millions of dollars in art stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, was arrested again Friday, and a prosecutor disclosed that the FBI has a recording of Gentile negotiating the sale of stolen Gardner paintings with an undercover operative.
Federal prosecutor John Durham created a stir when he made the disclosure at Gentile's arraignment, in U.S. District Court in Hartford, on charges of selling a gun to an undercover operative.
Others with knowledge of the case said that there is nothing to indicate that Gentile had stolen paintings to sell and that he may have been trying to orchestrate a swindle.

FBI agents have been pressing Gentile for five years in the belief that he can tell them what became of 13 priceless paintings that at least two thieves stole from the Gardner early on the morning of March 18, 1999. The baffling heist, the subject of multiple books, may be the most notorious art case ever.
The trail left by the thieves had been cold for years when the widow of a Boston gangster called FBI agents to her remote home in the Maine woods and told them that her dead husband may have passed Gentile two of the paintings years earlier, before the gangsters sat down over a boiled lobster luncheon at a Portland, Maine, hotel.
The assertion has never been substantiated, but it put Gentile under the FBI microscope. Since then it has been learned that Gentile, known in Hartford as a knockaround hood, had been living a secret life in Boston, where he had been inducted into the New England branch of a Philadelphia mafia family.
Gentile, 78, denies any knowledge of the Gardner job or the missing art, which some value at $500 million. Among the stolen masterworks are three Rembrandts — including his only known seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" — a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas. One source close to the investigation said Gentile is the best lead that authorities have had in 22 years.
"Lies, all lies," Gentile has told The Courant
People with knowledge of the circumstances leading to Gentile's arrest Friday and his recorded statements about selling stolen paintings said both were the result of a law enforcement sting. Gentile thought he was speaking with representatives of a wealthy businessman who wanted to buy stolen art, the people with knowledge of the case said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith ordered Gentile held over the weekend and scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. Monday on the government's motion to hold Gentile without bail on firearms charges.
Gentile, overweight and nearly crippled by a back injury, was wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair. He breathed heavily as he was pushed past the bar. Gentile had arrived at the federal courthouse in Hartford Friday morning to meet with his federal probation officer, but then learned he was being arrested on federal firearms charges.
Durham said in court that although Gentile remains on federal supervised release, he's been engaged in a variety of criminal activities and has been meeting with at least seven convicted felons, including a convicted murderer to whom he is charged with selling a loaded .38-caliber revolver.
"He's been a very active person since his release from prison," Durham said. His arrest came a year and a day after his release from prison, Durham added.
Gentile is heard on undercover recordings, Durham told the judge, discussing the sale of the gun for $1,000. The buyer told Gentile that he wanted it to collect a drug debt, Durham said.
During the hearing, Gentile sat in the wheelchair, sometimes staring at the ceiling and sometimes looking toward the judge shaking his head "no" as the judge recounted his alleged crimes. At one point, Gentile leaned over to his lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, and whispered, "I ain't going anywhere. I'm going on 80 years old. I'm ready to die."
Despite the reference to the Gardner heist, Durham said, the firearms charges are the only reason Gentile was arrested.
"Mr. Gentile's here for one reason only, because he sold a gun to someone he knew to be a convicted murderer," Durham said.
The judge took note of Gentile's apparent frailty.
"This gentleman doesn't look physically formidable," Smith said, adding, "It doesn't take an awful lot of physicality to sell a gun, especially to one who is known to be a convicted murderer."
FBI Special Agent Geoffrey J. Kelly wrote in an arrest affidavit that Gentile had the revolver hidden in a couch cushion in his home on Frances Drive in Manchester.
McGuigan said Gentile denies all the allegations. The new charges, he said outside of court, are "clearly" part of the government's ongoing effort to get Gentile to give investigators information about the Gardner burglary.
"This is what you call throw everything at the wall and see what sticks," McGuigan said, adding later, "If this doesn't involve the Gardner, I'll eat my hat."
Those who know Gentile, who began accumulating an arrest record in the 1950s, dismiss any suggestion that he was involved in one of the biggest art heists of all time. But some of the air went out of Gentile's emphatic denials when it was revealed in court that he submitted to a lie detector test in 2012 and the result showed there was a 99 percent likelihood he was lying when he denied knowledge of the heist.
The last time Gentile was in court he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for two crimes — possession and sale of prescription pain medications and illegal possession of weapons, including an unregistered silencer, by a convicted felon.
FBI agents used an informant to build the drug case against Gentile and a partner in an effort to pressure him into divulging information about the Gardner art. Then, when they searched his house, they found what Smith described at a previous hearing as a "veritable arsenal" containing explosives, guns, silencers, handcuffs, brass knuckles and other weapons.
Among the items found in Gentile's cellar was a list of the stolen Gardner art with its estimated black market value and police uniforms. At least one Gardner thief wore a police uniform.
Gentile could face substantially more prison time if convicted of the new gun offense. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a federal sentence of as much as 10 years.

Reputed Conn. mobster eyed in Gardner art heist probe held on gun charges

An aging reputed Connecticut gangster prosecutors have long believed has information on the still-unsolved Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist was arrested again this morning, accused of selling a gun to an informant he knew was a convicted felon, authorities said.
Robert V. Gentile, the focus of investigators probing the world-famous robbery in 1990, was arrested after reporting to his probation officer this morning, his lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan said.
Gentile appeared in federal court in Hartford this afternoon charged with possession of a gun, sale of a gun to a convicted felon, and possession of ammunition.
Federal prosecutors told Judge Thomas P. Smith investigators also have Gentile on surveillance allegedly discussing where two of the Gardner paintings were and how much he could get for them.
Gentile was ordered held until a hearing scheduled Monday.
McGuigan said this arrest — like drug charges his client was convicted of in 2013 — was intended to squeeze the aging mobster for more information, though Gentile has long denied having any knowledge about the heist.
“It would be a hell of a coincidence if it weren’t,” McGuigan said in a phone interview.
McGuigan said Gentile had “reported no problems” since his release, and that he was actually in the process of preparing a motion to terminate Gentile’s probation when he was arrested.
Gentile was 76 years old when a federal judge in May 2013 ordered him to serve 30 months in prison — with the possibility of release after 10 — on charges he sold prescription pain pills and compiled an arsenal inside his Manchester, Conn., home, including guns and homemade silencers.
At the time, authorities said they still believed Gentile had information that perhaps could lead them to $500 million in masterpieces stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March 1990. At Gentile’s sentencing, prosecutors said that during a February 2012 search of Gentile’s Manchester, Conn., home, they found, among other items, a Boston Herald article dated a day after the 1990 heist that included a list of the 13 pieces of art and corresponding dollar amounts of their estimated market value.
Prosecutors also said that during an FBI-administered polygraph test, it was determined that there was a “99 percent likelihood” Gentile was lying when he said he didn’t know where the paintings were located.
McGuigan accused prosecutors of “throwing the book” at his client in an effort to turn up the heat on the long-stalled investigation into the missing art.
McGuigan, too, refuted the results of the lie detector test, saying at the time that it came under extreme conditions, including a threat by an investigator that Gentile would die in a federal prison if he didn’t cooperate.

Arrest by F.B.I. Is Tied to $500 Million Art Theft From Boston Museum, Lawyer Says

BOSTON — Federal agents trying to solve the biggest art theft in the nation’s history arrested a 79-year-old Hartford man on Friday after conducting their second sting against him in three years to force him to disclose the whereabouts of $500 million in stolen art, the man’s lawyer said.
The suspect, Robert V. Gentile, was arrested by F.B.I. agents on charges of selling a .38 Colt cobra revolver on March 2 to an unidentified man who was acting as a confidential informant for the authorities. Investigators say Mr. Gentile, who has been on probation as a result of a 2013 conviction that was part of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation sting against him, received $1,000 for the sale.



“It’s the same F.B.I. guys doing the same thing as last time,” Mr. McGuigan said. “They won’t stop squeezing my client.”
Federal officials refused to comment on the arrest Friday. But at a hearing in United States District Court in Hartford, a federal prosecutor, John Durham, said that investigators had a recent recording of Mr. Gentile discussing the sale of some of the stolen paintings.
Mr. Gentile was first imprisoned in May 2013 after he was convicted on federal charges of weapons possession and illegal sale of prescription narcotics. He was sentenced to 30 months and released on probation after serving one year because of his poor health.
After his first arrest, Mr. Gentile told officials he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the 13 pieces of art stolen from the Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. Investigators dug through his property and underneath a shed in his backyard looking for clues to the theft, and found what appeared to be a price list for each of the items.
At the time, Mr. McGuigan said, the authorities said they would drop the charges against Mr. Gentile and even grant him some of the $5 million in reward money if he told them the location of the stolen art. Mr. McGuigan said it would be “illogical” for his client to withhold information with so much reward money at stake. Prosecutors later said that Mr. Gentile performed poorly in a lie-detector test when questioned about the theft.
Mr. McGuigan said that in court on Friday, he and Mr. Gentile again adamantly denied that Mr. Gentile had any information about the crime. Mr. McGuigan said his client had diabetes and required a wheelchair. 
He questioned why Mr. Gentile was arrested on Friday during a visit to his parole officer when the alleged gun sale occurred more than six weeks earlier.
“If he’s such a danger to the community,” he said, “why did they wait so long to take him in?” 

Mr. McGuigan said the two F.B.I. special agents who arrested his client on Friday are the same men who offered Mr. Gentile a deal on the Gardner case in 2012. The agents, Geoff Kelly and James Lawton, are the lead agents on the Gardner investigation, according to the F.B.I.

In an interview in March, Mr. Kelly said he remained convinced that Mr. Gentile, a reputed member of organized crime, had knowledge of the art through longtime underworld associates in Philadelphia.
Mr. Gentile will be back in court on Monday after spending the weekend in jail, his lawyer said, adding that the weapons charge carried a prison term of 10 years and that he would accuse the F.B.I. of entrapment.

Man eyed by Gardner heist investigators arrested again

The FBI visited the home of Robert Gentile in 2012.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File
The FBI visited the home of Robert Gentile in 2012.

A Connecticut organized crime figure earlier identified by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist recently talked about selling the stolen paintings to an undercover FBI agent, a government lawyer said in court on Friday.
The assertion that Robert V. Gentile, who has a long criminal record, was attempting to negotiate the sale of the paintings came after Gentile was arrested Friday morning on unrelated gun charges while on supervised release from an earlier prison sentence. Gentile reportedly made the revelation during a conversation with an undercover agent within the last several months.
“The government alleges that the defendant negotiated the sale of paintings, which had been stolen from the Gardner Museum, with an undercover FBI agent,” Assistant US Attorney John H. Durham said during a Friday afternoon court hearing, according to a statement released by the US Attorney’s office in Connecticut.
No further details were available from the US Attorney’s office.
At the conclusion of the hearing in US District Court in Hartford, Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith ordered the 78-year-old Gentile held in custody, pending a continuation of the hearing on Monday morning.



Gentile’s lawyer said Gentile has previously falsely claimed knowledge of the sensational art theft, and that law enforcement authorities are “squeezing” him with the latest arrest to try to obtain information from him.
The lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said in an interview on Friday that Gentile knows nothing about the paintings.
“He’s never seen the paintings nor does he have any idea as to the whereabouts of the paintings,” McGuigan said.
FBI agents in 2012 searched Gentile’s house in Manchester, Conn.
In 2013, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted of illegally possessing a gun and of selling prescription drugs to an FBI informant. McGuigan told the Globe last month that in that case Gentile was not giving law enforcement authorities “what they wanted so they squeezed him.”
McGuigan said that Gentile would have struck a deal for leniency in his earlier criminal case and for a chance at reward money if he had truly known anything about the stolen artwork.
He said Gentile’s arrest on Friday was another effort by law enforcement to force him to reveal information that he does not have about the heist, one of the most notorious in the history of the art world.
Robbers stole several masterpieces from the Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. The crime has stumped investigators for 25 years.
Gentile was arrested Friday when he reported to his federal probation officer, McGuigan said. He served about 24 months of a 30-month sentence on his 2013 federal convictions, McGuigan said. A judge will consider revoking his early release on those convictions and sending him back to prison on Monday, McGuigan said.
Gentile has been a focus of investigators’ attention since the wife of another organized crime figure told them that before the gangster’s 2004 death he had given several of the stolen paintings to Gentile.
He is one of three people that the FBI has described as “persons of interest” in the case. The other two have died.
During a 2012 search of Gentile’s home in Manchester, agents found a list of the stolen artwork with their black market value, and a stash of weapons, police hats, handcuffs, drugs, and other items.
An empty Rubbermaid tub buried under the floorboards of a shed in his yard was also discovered. It tested negative for paint residue linked to the stolen artwork.
Stephen Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

 Art Hostage Comments:

Whilst the likelihood is the FBI entrapped Robert Gentile, they are only doing their job in using all means to recover the stolen Gardner art, covert and overt.  

The FBI has a Trillion dollar support system behind it so they have the ability to put surveilance up the Wazoo of anyone suspected of having any information about the Gardner art heist and the current whereabouts of any Gardner art.

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Gardner art Heist still fresh in the minds of all and sundry, it does not take Albert Einstein to work out the FBI would be all over Robert Gentile like a rash and be monitoring his every movement, speech, meetings etc.

Love them or hate them, the FBI are much maligned for doing their mandated job of recovering the Gardner art and arresting anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Gardner art.

Any offer of immunity, however tenuous that is in reality, is down to Prosecutors.

For Robert Gentile to fall for the same trick twice in recent years is reckless to say the least.

If for one moment Robert Gentile thought the FBI would leave him alone he is sorely mistaken and now, as before, the offer of giving up any Gardner art he has knowledge of is again the price for these charges, however trumped up, to be dropped.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the lawyer for Robert Gentile, A. Ryan McGuigan allegedly has a legally binding signed agreement that if any Gardner artwork is ever recovered with the help of any Gentile family member or as a result of information relating to any Gentile family member, he will recieve 40% of any reward money, or fee paid out.

This seems stange given the fact A. Ryan McGuigan repeatedly states Robert Gentile has no knowledge of the whereabouts of any Gardner artworks and has never seen any Gardner artworks?

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