The Illinois Governor’s Mansion has seen a lot of crime since it was first built in 1855. The first elected official to live there, Joe Aldridge Matteson, tried to illegally cash two hundred thousand dollars worth of notes he claimed were found in a shoe box. He somehow escaped prosecution, but seven later governors were arrested or indicted, most recently Celebrity Apprentice contestant and good-natured disgrace Rod Blagojevich. It only makes sense the property’s most famous painting would now be under investigation too.

Since 1976, a picture of Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd has resided in the Springfield historical site. Supposedly painted by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, it depicted the first lady and was done shortly before the assassination at Ford’s Theater. Following the President’s death, it was said to have fallen in the hands of a wealthy Philadelphia family who sold it to an art dealer who later sold it back to the Lincoln family. Unfortunately, it now seems that story is a complete lie.

According to The New York Times, the painting was recently removed from the wall for a bit of cleaning, but during the restoration process, a conservator named Barry Bauman noticed the Carpenter signature had been added to the painting later. After a thorough investigation, it was discovered the entire painting had been reworked to depict Mary Todd.

The treachery is thought to have been committed by Ludwig Pflum, a circus performer, boxer and art dealer. He probably painted over the earlier picture himself and sold it to the Lincoln family for a few thousand dollars in the early 1920s. You can take a look at what the picture originally looked like and what it got changed to below. The fraudulent Mrs. Lincoln is on the left…

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