Noel Muir, in court in February, was sentenced to prison on Monday for stealing prize money from the jazz pianist Cecil Taylor. Bryan R. Smith for The New York Times
A Long Island contractor was sentenced on Monday to one to three years in prison for stealing nearly $500,000 in prize money awarded to his friend, the jazz pianist Cecil Taylor.
The contractor, Noel Muir, 55, of Uniondale, N.Y., pleaded guilty to larceny last month for having stolen the money awarded to Mr. Taylor by the Inamori Foundation of Japan in June 2013 as part of his Kyoto Prize. The prizes recognize cultural, scientific and spiritual achievements.
Mr. Muir, who befriended Mr. Taylor while working on his brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, accompanied the jazz musician to Japan in November 2013 and then arranged to have the prize money — $492,722.55 — deposited into his own Citibank account. Documents that Mr. Muir sent to the foundation falsely stated that the name on that account was the Cecil Taylor Foundation.
Mr. Muir has returned $200,000 to Mr. Taylor, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said, and has promised to give back the rest.
The defendant “shamefully bilked an elderly, vulnerable man,” Ken Thompson, the district attorney, said in a statement on Monday. “In doing so,” Mr. Thompson added, “the defendant pretended to be Cecil Taylor’s friend, but this guilty plea and sentence show that he was just a thief.”
Correction: April 4, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the prize that Mr. Taylor had won. It is the Kyoto Prize, not the Kyoto Award.
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