Renton man charged with selling fake Chihuly glass

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by Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 4:16 PM

SEATTLE  -- A Washington state man has been arrested on charges he sold fraudulent Dale Chihuly glass sculptures to a collector who planned to donate them to Gonzaga University.

Michael Little was arrested Thursday and was appointed a public defender during an appearance in federal court. The 35-year-old from Renton was released on bond pending his next court appearance.

Investigators said a man named James Coombes wanted to buy some Chihuly glass to donate to Gonzaga's Jundt Art Museum when he came across Little online in 2011. Over the next year and a half, he spent at least $22,000 buying pieces from Little.

A federal complaint says Little provided documentation that purported to authenticate the works, but Coombes said galleries he presented them to could not verify they were true Chihuly pieces. Eventually, he brought them to an authorized appraiser of Chihuly glass, who deemed them forged.

Little is charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

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