Accused murderer sentenced for art fraud

Brian Walshe, who is accused of murdering and dismembering his wife and previously had a residence in Marblehead, has been sentenced to 37 months in prison in connection with a fraud scheme involving two Andy Warhol paintings.

In 2018, Walshe was arrested and charged with one count of wire fraud after attempting to sell two counterfeit Andy Warhol paintings on eBay. In 2021, he pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, interstate transportation for a scheme to defraud, and unlawful monetary transaction. 

Walshe resided on Edgewood Road with his wife and three children, according to town records, for six months before selling the property and moving to Cohasset in December 2020. 

According to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office, a buyer in November 2016 found the paintings for sale on eBay, with the price of each one listed at $100,000. 

Walshe, the eBay seller, included an invoice for the paintings that included Warhol Foundation numbers on the post, showing a purchase price of $240,000. That same month, the buyer agreed with Walshe to purchase the paintings outside of eBay for $80,000. The buyer’s assistant then flew to Boston to get the paintings, and provide a check of $80,000 to Walshe, which was deposited into one of Walshe’s accounts, according to the statement.

He then allegedly withdrew $33,400 from that account within the next two weeks. On Nov. 8, the buyer found that there were no Warhol Foundation authentication stamps after removing the framing. When compared to the eBay listing, the paintings did not appear to be identical. 

“The buyer then repeatedly attempted to contact Walshe, who initially did not respond, and then made excuses for the delay in refunding the buyer’s money,” the statement read. 

Prior to listing the fake pieces on eBay, Walshe had obtained the original paintings while in South Korea. He told the owner, who was a friend he was visiting at the time, that he could “sell some of the art for a good price,” according to the statement. 

The owner agreed to allow Walshe to take the two paintings, along with other “fine art pieces.”

The statement says that Walshe sold the original paintings to a gallery in 2011, which was revealed by a subsequent investigation. Walshe did not compensate the owner of the paintings. That same year, he allegedly got a hold of a separate set of replica paintings. The artist of the replicas did not know the purpose they would be used for.

“In 2015, Walshe sold that set to another victim who resided in France,” according to the statement. 

Walshe was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, in addition to being ordered to pay $475,000 in restitution.

Walshe is currently awaiting trial for the murder and dismemberment of his wife, Ana Walshe. He was arrested on Jan. 8, 2023, one week after she was reported missing. 

Walshe has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, misleading police, and improper conveyance of a human body, and is due back in court on March 4.

  • Ryan Vermette is the Item's Marblehead reporter. He graduated from Springfield College in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications/Sports Journalism. While in school, he wrote multiple sports articles for the school newspaper, the Springfield Student, and joined Essex Media Group in August, 2022. Ryan is a college basketball fanatic and an avid Boston sports fan and in his free time, enjoys video games and Marvel movies.