Art dealer swindled by Walshe: He gave ‘Oscar-worthy performance’

Banfield

(NewsNation) — Ron Rivlin is one of the top dealers of Andy Warhol art across the country. He’s also been swindled by Brian Walshe, the husband of missing Boston mom Ana Walshe who has been charged with her murder and improper transport of a body.

In wake of Ana’s disappearance, Rivlin told his story about Brian Walshe to Daily Beast reporter Justin Rohrlich. In an interview with NewsNation host Ashleigh Banfield, Rohrlich discussed his conversation with Rivlin.

Rohrlich said the incident started with two original Warhols that came from one of Brian Walshe’s college friends he met his freshman year. Walshe was out of the country to attend the man’s wedding when Rohrlich says Walshe told the friend he could get a good price for the two pieces of art.

From there, the two canvases from Warhol’s “Shadows” series were offered for around $80,000 in 2016 on Ana Walshe’s eBay seller account. Rivlin sent his assistant to Boston from Los Angeles to exchange a cashier’s check for the two paintings.

“When they got back to LA, he realized that they were fakes. He said of the thousands or so Warhols that he has purchased in his career as a dealer, this is the only one that got by him and Walshe was just that good,” Rohrlich told Banfield. “He said that he said all the right things until he got his money. He knew how to play him exactly and then he disappeared. In fact, he called Walshe’s act an Oscar-worthy performance.”

Rivlin told Rohrlich that once he discovered the scam, Walshe became “unreachable” until he spoke to Ana at her job and then the FBI. Rivlin told the Daily Beast Walshe paid him back $30,000 of the $80,000 and that he did not believe Ana was “in on the crime,” which Brian admitted to in a guilty plea.

Rohrlich also spoke with someone who had known Brian Walshe for many years and first met him as a young child.

“He said Walshe, from the time he was a teenager, carried himself like a prince,” Rohrlich said. “That’s a direct quote from him. He said he never thought the rules applied to him and that he was sort of above it all. According to the friend, Walshe lived in somewhat of a fantasy land wanting “only the finest things in life.”

Ana Walshe, 39, was last seen on New Year’s Day, leaving her home in Massachusetts to fly to Washington, D.C., where she worked. Three days later, the mother of three was reported missing by her husband. Some reports indicate she may have been reported missing even earlier by her employer.

Days into the investigation of her disappearance, authorities arrested Brian Walshe on accusations he was misleading police. He insists he is not guilty.

The Norfolk County District Attorney announced Tuesday that Walshe is charged with murder and improper transport of a body in connection to the case.

“The continued investigation has now allowed police to obtain an arrest warrant charging Brian Walshe with the murder of his wife,” said Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey.

D.C. police sources confirmed to NewsNation’s Evan Lambert that Brian Walshe was the suspect in a 2014 report where Ana Walshe (then Knipp) said he threatened to kill her and her friends. That case never progressed.

According to court documents, Brian Walshe’s ankle monitor that he had to wear due to a previous fraud conviction tracked him to Home Depot. Investigators say while he was there, he bought hundreds of dollars worth of cleaning supplies.

While police are still searching for Ana Walshe’s remains, a bloody knife was discovered in the basement of the Walshe home and more evidence was found near Brian Walshe’s mother’s home at a trash transfer station.

More information is expected to be revealed when Walshe is arraigned in court Wednesday.

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