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News Release

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Media Relations

Phony Count Arrested with $7 Million Dollar Goya


Los Angeles:
On Wednesday, December 12, 2001, Gabor Eordogh, 42 years-old of Hungary was found guilty of two counts of grand theft after a jury trial. Eordogh, a Hungarian citizen, was accused of stealing a painting purportedly by artist Francisco Goya worth $7 million dollars.

Eordogh had befriended an elderly Hungarian couple and offered to have the painting cleaned. After Eordogh borrowed the painting in 1997, he fled and tried to aggressively market it for as much as $75 million, claiming to be the owner. He also attempted to sell prints made from the artwork's image. He finally settled on an elaborate scheme to obtain a multi-million dollar bank loan by offering the painting as collateral through the use of a spurious authentication and appraisal.

To add credence to his claim that he was the owner, the defendant transformed himself into Count Gabor Eordogh de Turul - claiming to be Hungarian nobility. He created a website with fanciful stories. He also had a professional video tape made to help market the painting.

Detectives from The LAPD's Art Theft Detail contacted Hungarian authorities and learned Eordogh was a fugitive from Hungary on an eight-year old safe burglary case. He fled Hungary to Italy and then entered the U.S. as a resident alien. After weeks of investigation and surveillance, Eordogh was apprehended in an apartment in North Hollywood. The search also resulted in the recovery of the stolen painting.

Eordogh is awaiting sentencing on the L.A. case as well as extradition back to Hungary.

The lead investigator on the case is Detective Dan Schultz, Art Theft Detail
213-485-2524. The prosecutor is Deputy District Attorney Steven De Salvo 213-893-0617.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Grace Brady, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.