Mar 03, 2023

By Christine Ross

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Eight people have been arrested in an investigation into alleged fraudulent art sold under the name of a famous Indigenous artist.

OPP interim deputy commissioner Kari Dart says some unsuspecting people paid tens of thousands of dollars for works falsely sold under Norval Morrisseau’s name.

“Over 1,000 allegedly fraudulent painting have been seized, the total number produced and sold is unknown.”

After a two-and-a-half year investigation, Provincial Police laid 40 charges in a joint investigation with Thunder Bay Police. This includes 53-year-old Benjamin Paul Morrisseau of Thunder Bay, said to be a relative of the famed artist, who’s been charged with forgery.

Police say four other suspects are from Thunder Bay, while one resides in Niagara-on-the-Lake and another in Locust Hill. They all face fraud-related charges.

Norval Morrisseau is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists in Canada. Before his death in 2007, he alleged that individuals were creating and selling art under his name, using his distinctive Woodland School style of art. And further allegations have since been made, including from Barenaked Ladies guitarist Kevin Hearn.

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