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Retired lawyer indicted in case of stolen art

BOSTON --A retired lawyer who allegedly negotiated to sell stolen paintings, including a $30 million Cezanne still life, was indicted Thursday.

A federal grand jury indicted Robert R. Mardirosian -- of both Falmouth and St. Paul de Vence, France -- with one count each of possessing, transporting and selling stolen goods that had crossed U.S. borders, according to U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan.

Mardirosian, 72, allegedly took possession of seven pieces of art that were stolen -- by one of Mardirosian's clients -- from Michael Bakwin's home in Stockbridge during the 1978 Memorial weekend heist, Sullivan said.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of six of the stolen paintings. The seventh and most expensive piece, a Cezanne, was returned to Bakwin in 1999 in exchange for him relinquishing all claims to the remaining artwork.

A call to Mardirosian's Falmouth home was not immediately returned. A message was left at the office of his attorney, Michael F. Hanley.

Mardirosian faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The paintings' alleged thief, David Colvin, was killed in Pittsfield over a gambling debt a year after the artwork went missing.

In 1988, Mardirosian moved the paintings to Monaco, thinking he might have a legal claim to ownership or a 10 percent "finder's fee," according to court filings.