It was November 23, 1967 when Kenneth Andrew was born. He is an American software developer and the author of memoir Fake: Forgery Lies & eBay which details his time spent selling forged art on the online auction site eBay. Presently, he lives with his wife in San Francisco, California.
Walton was working as an attorney in Sacramento, California, and selling art on eBay, using more than 40 online aliases to drive up bidding on hundreds of his paintings in the year 1999 and 2000. He posted an auction on eBay in May 2000 for an oil painting that payed attention to a closing bid of $135,805 and which bidders wonder might be a work by Richard Diebenkorn because of its similarity to the artist’s work, the presence of the monogram “RD52” on the canvas, and the fact that the seller claimed to have found it at a garage sale in Berkeley, where Diebenkorn had lived.
Walton seemed to have no knowledge of art and claimed to have no idea of the painting’s worth in the description accompanying the auction. The auction generated international news and headlines and, after the process of investigative reports by Judith H. Dobrzynski in the New York Times exposed that Walton was in fact an experienced art seller who had sold numerous forged paintings and worked with other sellers who bid on each other's items.
He was banned from eBay and the FBI launched an investigation into his trading activities. Walton and two accomplices, Kenneth Fetterman and Scott Beach, were accused with fraud by the federal government for bidding on their own auctions, the first ever trial for so-called “shill bidding” on the world wide web in April 2001. Walton cooperated with the prosecutors, admitted he’d fake the art or copy the Richard Diebenkorn’s initials onto the painting he had auctioned on eBay, and declared guilty in exchange for leniency. He surrendered his law license and was sentenced to nine months of probation and need to pay $74,232 in compensation to victims in 2004.
After being accused, Walton went on to found the software company HammerTap, and developed the first eBay market research application called DeepAnalysis. After eBay found out Walton’s connection with HammerTap and rejected the company permission to take eBay’s direct data feeds, Walton sold the company to Utah-based Bright Builders in 2004.
With such fraudulent activities, with things turning out to the positive side at the end, Walton was able to “re-build” his reputation(somehow). The turn of event can just be taken as an inspiration for some who blow things out. Indeed the world ofart and painting is a world of wonder, intrigue, passion, falling and glory or glory and falling.
There are so many mysteries waiting to be revealed as you come and take a peek at the world of the fabulous and mesmerizing art and painting which has taken many amidst the secrecy of pure bliss and wonder. While you go and search for them, you will find yourself to no surprise getting more entrapped into the beauty of art and painting.
The Author of FAKE: Forgery, Lies, & eBay