A Van Nuys woman accused of stealing a 19th century oil painting from UCLA during her tenure there as a director of counseling pleaded not guilty Monday to federal fraud charges.
Jane Crawford, 50, was indicted last month in connection with the 1994 theft of "Frost Flowers, Ipswich 1889" by American painter Arthur Wesley Dow from the university. She was accused of selling the painting through a middleman to New York City's Spanierman Art Gallery for $200,000.
Crawford said an unnamed university official gave her permission to take home the artwork, which had hung on her office wall.
Prosecutors said an alleged business dispute between Crawford and the middleman, who has since died, led the man to tell local authorities the painting was stolen.
Authorities said Spanierman officials were unaware the painting was alleged to have been stolen.
Crawford is scheduled to stand trial in U.S. District Court on Aug. 17. If convicted, she faces up to 40 years in federal prison.
In April, Crawford resigned her academic counseling position after 23 years, she said, in response to the controversy.