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Wash. man charged with selling fake Chihuly glass

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 due to appear in federal court in Seattle later in the day. It wasn’t clear if the 35-year-old Renton man had obtained a lawyer.

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.