Poor Matisse
Poor Matisse

A Gaithersburg man with a taste for early Modernism and Damien Hirst was sentenced today to 38 months in prison for felony fraud. Kevin T. Washington, 48, used his gig as a waiter at an unnamed Georgetown restaurant to gather four diners’ credit card information, which he used to buy some really, really nice stuff.

Among Washington’s purchases: diamond stud earrings, a wedding band, a diamond cross, and a 16-inch gold chain from a jewelry store in Northwest D.C. His less posh purchases included “storage services” and car repair services, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Washington also fraudulently obtained around $24,000 in cash in a check scheme.

But most impressively, from a taste perspective, Washington purchased $46,000 of work from a Georgetown art gallery, including etchings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and contemporary art darling Damien Hirst. (Perhaps Washington was as underwhelmed by Hirst’s work as some of the artist’s critics; he pawned the works at a store in Fairfax County.)

Washington received no time off for good taste in art. He pleaded guilty in August to felony credit card fraud, first-degree felony fraud, and misdemeanor credit card fraud, and in addition to his prison sentence, will have to pay restitution of approximately $39,000 to businesses and banks that he defrauded.

Photo by Carl Van Vechten, via Library of Congress