Ripped from the headlines of the New York Times, Fake describes Kenneth Walton's innocent beginnings as a lawyer turned online art-trading hobbyist, whose satisfaction in reselling thrift store paintings for a profit soon became a fierce addiction to eBay. In a landscape peopled with colorful eccentrics hoping to score museum-quality paintings at bargain prices, Walton entered into a partnership with con man Ken Fetterman. Over the course of eighteen months they managed to take in hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling forged paintings and bidding on their own auctions to drive up the prices. When their deception was discovered and made international headlines, Walton found himself stalked by reporters and federal agents while Fetterman went on the lam, sparking a nationwide FBI manhunt.
In this sensational story of the seductive power of greed, Kenneth Walton breaks his silence for the first time and details the international scandal that forever changed the way eBay does business.
Kenneth Walton was a lawyer when he began selling art on eBay in 1999. Over time his online sales tactics grew increasingly fraudulent, culminating in the $135,805 sale of a forged Richard Diebenkorn painting in May 2000. The story of this infamous auction, first broken by an investigative report published in the New York Times, ultimately resulted in his prosecution by the federal government for placing shill bids. He was sentenced in June 2004, is no longer a lawyer, and lives in Northern California. This is his first book. You can visit his website at www.kennethwalton.com.
"Fake is the real deal -- a vivid and illuminating sprint through the murky waters of online auctions, greed, and the makings of a con. Kenneth Walton's story is rapid-fire read for all, and a compelling primer for anyone thinking of buying or selling something valuable over the Internet."
-- Franz Wisner, New York Times bestselling author of Honeymoon with My Brother