COHASSET, Mass. — Brian Walshe, charged with misleading investigators during their search for his missing wife Ana Walshe, is a “calculated guy” who “lacks empathy,” the victim of Walshe’s federal art scam said.
Ron Rivlin, who owns the Los Angeles-based Revolver Warhol Gallery, bought what turned out to be two fake 1978 Andy Warhol paintings from Brian Walshe for $80,000 in 2016, according to court records.
Rivlin said Walshe tried to evade him, impeded law enforcement’s investigation and worked the system for years until he finally pleaded guilty in April 2021.
“He’s a calculated guy,” Rivlin told Fox News Digital. “He lacks basic empathy. What happened to me is telling of Brian’s masterful ability to coerce people. Myself, the FBI and the DA had trouble breaking him down and getting him to change his not guilty plea, apologize, pay restitution and get sentenced.”
When Rivlin and his assistant first met Brian Walshe, he was “charismatic, articulate and professional,” Rivlin said.
“I bought over a thousand Warhols, and this is the one and only acquisition that got by me. He was that good,” Rivlin said.
But Brian Walshe’s demeanor changed after he delivered the fake paintings to Rivlin’s assistant.
The 47-year-old Cohasset, Massachusetts, man became “unreachable” when Rivlin tried to get his money back until Rivlin spoke to Ana Walshe and, later, the FBI.
“He would only cooperate when he was forced to,” Rivlin said. “He’s very tactful in how he plays the legal system. It’s been over six years, and he’s avoided sentencing this long.”
Brian Walshe was in handcuffs again this week after he was arrested Sunday and charged with misleading investigators while they were searching for his wife, who mysteriously went missing New Year’s Day.
The 39-year-old mother of three wasn’t reported missing until Jan. 4, after she didn’t show up to her job at the Washington, D.C.-based real estate firm Tishman Speyer.
“It’s incredibly sad to learn that Ana is missing,” Rivlin said. “As a parent of young children, I’m having a hard time processing this and hope that she is found and reunited with her family.
“In the immediate aftermath of the transaction, she seemed shocked and pressured Brian to call me. They were newlyweds at the time, and I got a sense from speaking with her that she wasn’t in on the crime.”
Ana Walshe is still missing, and police found blood in the basement of the Walshes’ Cohasset home, as well as a broken knife.
The search led law enforcement to a Swampscott waste facility about an hour away from their home, where investigators reportedly found trash bags with blood, a hatchet and a hacksaw, sources told WBZ-TV.
The local TV station reported that investigators wearing protective suits and police officers with dogs were spotted searching the facility Monday.
The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office issued a statement Tuesday about evidence that had been collected.
“Search activity conducted north of Boston yesterday resulted in a number of items being collected, which will now be subject to processing and testing to determine if they are of evidentiary value to this investigation,” the Norfolk DA’s Office said.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, David Traub, would not confirm the items obtained from the trash or disclose the location where they were found.
Brian Walshe pleaded not guilty at Monday’s arraignment and is being held on $500,000 bond.
His attorney, Tracy Miner, isn’t commenting on the case.
“I am not doing press interviews or even responding to inquiries, as right now my focus is on defending my client in court,” she told Fox News on Monday.