Fondation Beyeler Clerk Sentenced to Three Years in Prison For Stealing Over $1 Million At Ticket Counter

The woman accused of swindling the Swiss museum Fondation Beyeler out of over $1 million while working as a ticket clerk has been found guilty by a court in Basel and sentenced to three years and seven months in prison, according to The Art Newspaper

The judge found that the woman, who was accused of using multiple tactics to swipe money from the till including selling tickets more than once, voiding sales, and selling preprinted ticket meant for use during high volume attendance, will also have to pay back the almost SFr900,000 ($1.03 million) she stole, plus interest.

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Three bronze statues Cham people, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani and attendants, 9th­­–10th century, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, Acquired 2011, Deaccessioned 2021, On loan from the Kingdom of Cambodia, 2023–2026

The court found the 54-year-old woman guilty of commercial theft, multiple embezzlement, multiple forgery of documents and commercial money laundering, the proceeds of which the judge said she used to live a life of luxury that included boutique vacations, expensive cars, and high-end clothes, according to the Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen.

The woman worked at the Fondation Beyeler box office for over a decade starting in 2008. From 2010 to 2019 she oversaw the box office team. Irregularities in the box office numbers were discovered by employees in 2019, two of which testified against the woman in court. 

In 2022 the Fondation Beyeler had more than 360,000 visitors. The museum, located in Riehen, Switzerland, is known holding the art collection of Hildy and Ernst Beyeler, the latter of whom was once called “Europe’s pre-eminent dealer in modern art” by the New York Times. It primarily features modern art. Hildy and Ernst Beyeler died in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

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