Matisse theft suspects plead guilty

$3 million painting stolen from Venezuelan museum, missing for at least 10 years

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The original painting on the left, and the forgery on the right

MIAMI - Two people accused of stealing a $3 million Henri Matisse painting plead guilty in a Miami federal courtroom on Wednesday.

Officials said Maria Ornelas Lazo, 50, and Pedro Marcuello, 46, tried to sell a Henri Matisse to undercover agents at a Miami Hotel in July.

The painting named, Odalisque in Red Pants, was stolen and swapped with a fake at the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art in Venezuela, it was reported that no one knew for months. The real one was traveling in the cloak of darkness for nearly a decade.

Investigators said the thieves tried to sell the painting to undercover FBI agents.

Sentencing is scheduled for January.

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