Stradivarius violin embezzler is jailed for six years

Violin dealer Dietmar Machold has been seen sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of embezzlement.

After being found guilty of embezzlement, rare violin dealer Dietmar Machold has been sent to prison for six years. Machold, 63, had previously pleaded guilty to embezzlement after several musicians and collectors claimed that he was selling violins for vastly inflated prices.

Machold told the court in Vienna: "I am a failure. I have lost everything." According to prosecutor Herbert Harammer, Machold's violin-dealing business had been insolvent since 2006. The defendant later added: "I did what I did and I am to be punished for it. That is the way it has to be."

Machold's ex-wife and her mother were also defendants in the case, and were each given one-year suspended sentences for helping Machold hide valuable instruments and a watch collection.

The estimated cost of instruments that Machold had diverted the sale of (including a Stradivarius violin) is $3.4m. It is the biggest case of fraud in the history of the violin trade.