The sentencing for Jorge Alberto Gonzalez, the scam artist who offered false investment opportunities backed by a fake painting, was rescheduled Thursday because he was in the hospital.
Defense attorney Robert Perez said his client had been admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital for unspecified medical problems and asked the judge for permission to visit him.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom offered to sign a recommendation for visitation rights, but said it would be subject to hospital policy. She rescheduled the sentencing for Dec. 27.
Gonzalez was convicted last month of first-degree grand theft for the intricate swindle of a divorcée in 2005. He convinced Maria Davila, a clerk with Miami’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to put her sizeable divorce settlement in his personal bank account, promising to transfer the money to Spanish investment that would see 10 percent returns over three years. As collateral he offered a painting by Cuban modernist Amelia Peláez he said was worth half a million dollars.
When Davila became suspicious and began asking about the painting in the South Florida art community, she discovered that Peláez work was a fake and the investment was a lie.
Gonzalez has a long criminal record dating back to the mid-1990s, including convictions for cocaine dealing, armed robbery and stealing artwork.