Michael Little, 36, pleaded guilty last week to federal wire fraud in Seattle United States District Court for his involvement in a scheme to advertise and sell fake Chihuly artwork. Little admitted he purchased several pieces of generic glass work and artwork over the internet and falsely accused buyers that it was authentic work created by artist Dale Chihuly.
According to court records, Little ran this scheme between 2011 and April 2013 and profited at least $40,000 by selling the fake artwork. The majority of these pieces of art were sold on eBay and each had a signature that appeared to be Chihuly’s. Little also provided paperwork that authenticated the art as the work of Don Chihuly. An expert in Chihuly’s work investigated the artwork at the request of a number of the buyers and determined that they were counterfeit and that the authentication paper work had been forged.
Little also told various stories to potential buyers and family explaining that he acquired the Chihuly work after winning the lottery.
According to the wire fraud statutes in this case, Michael Little could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 4, 2013 before United States District Judge Robert S. Lasnik. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.
This case was investigated by the Seattle-Tacoma Border Enforcement Security Task Force, led by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
If you find yourself facing federal fraud charges, it is important to find an experienced federal wire fraud attorney to represent you. The criminal attorneys of Parkman & White, LLC have a history of success in the court room and are ready to represent clients nationwide.