Almost two weeks after being arrested in a Miami Beach hotel room, a Miami resident and a Mexican national faced a federal grand jury for their part in the mysterious theft of Henri Matisses Odalisque in Red Pants, valued at about $3 million.
The federal grand jury indicted Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, of Miami, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City, Tuesday in connection with the paintings decade-long disappearance.
The duo was arrested on July 17 after they tried to sell the painting to undercover FBI agents. After corresponding with Marcuello, the agents arranged to buy the stolen painting for $740,000 while in a Miami Beach hotel room. When the deal was made, the agents arrested Marcuello and Ornelas.
The painting disappeared from the Caracas Contemporary Art Museum about a decade ago. Museum officials realized in 2002 that the painting had been swapped for a fake. Marcuello told an FBI agent that the theft had been an inside job.
Marcuello and Ornelas are scheduled to appear for arraignment on Wednesday. They face a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted.