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Eight people arrested, charged in Norval Morrisseau art fraud investigation

March 3, 2023  By The Canadian Press

Mar. 3, 2023, Orillia, Ont. – Police in Ontario say eight people have been arrested and charged in an investigation into alleged fraudulent art made and sold under the name of famous Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau.

Ontario Provincial Police say more than 1,000 alleged fake paintings, prints and other artworks have been seized in their two-and-a-half-year probe, conducted alongside the Thunder Bay Police Service.

They say some of the fraudulent paintings were sold for tens of thousands of dollars to unsuspecting members of the public who had no reason to believe the art wasn’t genuine.

Those arrested face a combined 40 charges, including forgery, defrauding the public over $5000 and uttering a forged document.


Morrisseau, also known as Copper Thunderbird, was a self-taught artist of Ojibwe ancestry who is considered a trailblazer for contemporary Indigenous artists across Canada.

Before his death in 2007, police say allegations began to emerge of people creating and selling art under his name and made in his distinctive Woodland School of Art style.

The artist’s official website says he was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and was also awarded a posthumous lifetime achievement award in 2008.

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