Painter of Light targeted by Investigation of Feebs

Thomas "Painter of Light" Kinkade and company executives are the subject of an FBI investigation. They're charged with having duped investors into launching Kinkade-only galleries that effectively bilked them of cash:

The ex-owners allege in arbitration claims that, among other things, the artist known for his dreamily luminous landscapes and street scenes used his Christian faith to persuade them to invest in the independently owned stores, which sell only Kinkade's work.

"They really knew how to bait the hook," said one former dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case. "They certainly used the Christian hook."

Kinkade has denied the allegations in the civil litigation.

Here's the LA Times' coverage.
Here's more from the SF Chron. Image: Mr. Kinkade's website. See also these previous BB posts about Kinkade's work, which always kinda makes me want to scrub out my eyes with bleach. (Thanks, Jesse)

Reader comment: Ethan says,

I was interested to read about the latest Kinkaid scandal… but was a bit taken back by this paragraph in the SF Chronicle (actually AP) story about it. Rachel Konrad wrote:

Critics — including highbrow art aficionados, satirical bloggers and starving artists annoyed by Kinkade's marketing success — snicker at his work. His paintings typically include tranquil scenes of country gardens, churches, streams and lighthouses in dewy morning light. Many contain images from Bible passages.

That kind of commentary seem appropriate a write doing, well, commentary… but it doesn't seem ok for what is purportedly a straight-ahead, hard news article. Frankly, the characterization of "starving artists" bugs me, but even more so the assertion that what they dislike about Kinkaid is his success. That seems especially odd implication coming at the end of an article outlining Kinkaid?s apparent fraudulent activities (could it be the fraud, not sappy art, that especially bothers people?).