Kurniawan found guilty in fake wine case

Rudy KurniawanRudy Kurniawan has been found guilty of participating in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit vintage wines.

The jury in a Manhattan federal court concluded that 37-year-old Kurniawan was knowingly involved in a scheme to pass off fake copies of rare and expensive wines, duping collectors out of millions of dollars. He was also convicted of a scheme to fraudulently obtain a $3m loan from a financing company.

US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Rudy Kurniawan perpetrated a vintage fraud scheme, not only peddling counterfeit wine, but concocting, bottling, and labeling what he foisted on his victims. He now stands to pay for his fraud with time behind bars in a federal prison."

The court heard that between 2004 and 2012 Kurniawan manufactured counterfeit bottles of rare and vintage wine at his home in Arcadia, California.

He mixed and blended lower-priced wines so that they would mimic the taste and character of rare and far more expensive wines, poured his creations into empty bottles of rare and expensive wines that he procured from various sources, and created a finished product by sealing the bottles with corks and outfitting the bottles with counterfeit wine labels he created, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

He was arrested by the FBI after trying to sell $736,500 worth of allegedly fake wine at a London auction.

Kurniawan was convicted of one count of mail fraud - which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison - and one count of wire fraud, which also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. He is due to be sentenced on April 24.

Earlier this year billionaire wine collector William Koch won $12m in punitive damages from Eric Greenberg in a long and bitter civil dispute over the purchase of counterfeit vintage Bordeaux wine, despite protestations by Greenberg's lawyers that he was unaware they were not authentic.

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