SEATTLE (AP) -- The U.S. attorney's office says a Renton man who made $40,000 selling generic pieces of glasswork on the Internet as Chihuly artwork pleaded guilty Wednesday in Seattle.
Michael Little, 35, could get up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 4 in federal court for wire fraud.
The U.S. attorney's office says Little used forged papers to authenticate the art but an expert determined they were not the work of Dale Chihuly.
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 said 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.