A Long Island man was arrested this week after authorities accused of him siphoning nearly $500,000 of prize money that had been awarded to 85-year-old free jazz pioneer Cecil Taylor last year.

According to a press release from the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, Nassau County resident Noel Muir, 54, stole $492,722.55 from Taylor, who won the cash after receiving the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation in Japan. The international award is bestowed upon individuals who have contributed to scientific, cultural and spiritual development. In a statement, Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson alleged that Muir "befriended Mr. Taylor and won his trust, which later made it easier for him to allegedly swindle this vulnerable, elderly and great jazz musician out of his prize money."

Taylor, whose first album, Jazz Advance, was recorded in 1956, was awarded the 50 million yen prize in June 2013. According to prosecutors, Muir is a general contractor who was working on a brownstone located next door to Taylor's Fort Greene home. He allegedly made the elderly Taylor's acquaintance, helped him with the preparations for his trip to Japan to receive the prize that November and accompanied him on that trip. Prosecutors say Muir then had the cash prize transferred to his own company's bank account, falsely portraying it as The Cecil Taylor Foundation. That account has since been depleted, according to investigators.

Muir has been charged with second-degree grand larceny. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.