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Renton man arrested for selling counterfeit Chihuly art | U.S. District Court
A 35-year-old Renton man was arrested for trafficking in counterfeit goods related to his advertising and sale of artwork attributed to renowned artist Dale Chihuly, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Michael Little was arrested this morning following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Little will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court at 1:30 this afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, in 2011 and 2012, Little offered for sale or sold various pieces of glass art and paintings that he represented were the work of Dale Chihuly. Little marketed the works via eBay. The artworks bore a signature that appeared to be Chihuly’s and Little provided paperwork that he said authenticated the pieces as the work of Dale Chihuly.
However, an expert in Chihuly’s work examined the pieces at the request of the purchaser and determined they were fakes. The papers that were supposed to authenticate the works were also allegedly forged.
Trafficking in counterfeit goods is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.