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Chihuly counterfeiter confesses

USvLittle-Generic-Seized-glasswork-offered-as-genuine-Chihuly–ICE-Photo (2)SEATTLE – A Renton man has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges, after he sold counterfeit artwork attributed to famed Northwest artist Dale Chihuly.

Michael Little admitted to buying various pieces of generic glasswork over the Internet, and then selling the works on eBay as authentic Chihuly works.

Prosecutors allege Little made at least $40,000 through his scam, that ran between 2001 and April 2013.

The artworks bore a signature that appeared to be Chihuly’s and Little provided forged paperwork that he said authenticated the pieces as the work of Dale Chihuly.

Little told various stories to buyers about how he had acquired the artwork, including that his family had purchased the pieces after winning the lottery.

The fraud came to light when several buyers contacted an expert to examine the pieces.

Little faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  Sentencing is set for Oct. 4.

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