Newcastle Crown Court
A man from Sunderland who forged the work of artist Norman Cornish (1919-2014) has been ordered to repay £1 at a proceeds of crime hearing at Newcastle Crown Court. Image by Alan Heardman via Creative Commons.

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Richard Pearson was jailed for three years and seven months in January after pleading guilty in November 2016 to nine charges of fraud, two of forgery and two of using a false instrument with intent.

During a proceeds of crime hearing this week at Newcastle Crown Court it was revealed Pearson, who appeared via video link from prison, had no assets.

According to court reports, the prosecution said: “The total benefit figure, which is not disputed, is the sum of £31,650… A financial investigator has made inquiries and had come to the conclusion there are no available assets.

“The application today is for a confiscation order to be made in the form of a nominal sum of £1. The matter can be reviewed regularly to see if the defendant comes into the possession of any assets.”

Pearson’s crimes were reported to have taken place between December 2011 and February 2014. He forged 1960s receipts from Cornish’s former dealer The Stone Gallery – although his use of decimal currency rather than pounds, shillings and pence was to lead to his detection.

Cornish, who died in August 2014, was a former miner who began painting after an art course run for pitmen in County Durham.