Noel Muir, a Long Island contractor who lived next door to pianist Cecil Taylor, has pleaded guilty to larceny after stealing nearly $500,000 in prize money from the free-jazz legend.
Muir said to have befriended Taylor and accompanied him to Japan, where he was to pick up the Kyoto Prize in 2013, received for recognition of cultural, scientific and spiritual achievements. He was subsequently able to defraud him by convincing the Japanese foundation into believing that his account was in Taylor’s name.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said that Muir “shamefully bilked an elderly, vulnerable man. In doing so, the defendant pretended to Cecil Taylor’s friend, but this guilty plea and sentence show that he was just a thief.”
Muir received a sentence of one to three years in prison. He has already returned $200,000 dollars of the award, and promised to return the rest.