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Man Arrested For Conning Jazz Great Cecil Taylor Out Of $500,000

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Aug 12, 2014 | 12:16pm EDT

Cecil TaylorCourtesy Everett Collection

A New York man suspected of conning jazz legend Cecil Taylor out of $500,000 (£294,118) has been arrested on a charge of grand larceny.

Prosecutors claim contractor Noel Muir befriended the celebrated pianist while working on a Brooklyn neighbour's home and won his trust, leading Taylor to invite him on a trip to Japan last year (13), when he was awarded the Inamori Foundation's prestigious Kyoto Award and a $500,000 cash gift. Muir had reportedly helped to make preparations for the receipt of the money, but instead tricked organisation officials into sending the funds to his own bank account, which he quickly depleted.

In legal papers, authorities allege Muir "falsely stated that the name on the account is The Cecil Taylor Foundation, when, in fact, the name on the account is actually MCAI Construction, which is the defendant's company". 

Muir, who was arraigned in court on Tuesday (12Aug14), faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the second degree count. Prosecutors are also seeking to recover the stolen funds on Taylor's behalf.

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