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Man to serve two years for role in theft of art

Published Aug. 28, 2005

A man pleaded guilty Friday to being part of a conspiracy that stole paintings by Monet and Renoir from a Naples mansion last year.

Carlos Somuanos, 38, received a two-year prison sentence for grand theft for stealing the French impressionist paintings worth $6.7-million. The sentence will run concurrently with a 10-year federal sentence on an unrelated drug charge.

He had faced up to 30 years for the theft.

Somuanos didn't take part in the Feb. 11, 2003 theft, but tried to arrange the paintings' sale for $1-million to two men who turned out to be undercover police officers.

The 1880 Claude Monet landscape, Paysage a Vetheuil, is valued at $4-million; the 1893 LaPlace de Trinite cityscape by Auguste Renoir is worth $2.7-million. They were stolen from Minnesota businessman Lee Anderson.

Prosecutor Priscilla Prado said she also had offered plea bargains to the two men accused of stealing the paintings.

Alleged ringleader Fernando Alfaro has been offered a sentence of almost four years and alleged accomplice Rigoberto Gonzalez has been offered a two-year sentence, she said. They have until Monday to decide whether to accept.