Wine faker Rudy Kurniawan just days away from release

Remember Rudy Kurniawan? The notorious wine counterfeiter is reportedly due to be released from prison later this week, seven years after he was found guilty of multiple counts of fraud.

A report on the Wine-Searcher website suggests Kurniawan will be released from the Correctional Institution Reeves in Pecos, Texas, on Saturday (November 7).

According to the terms of his original conviction – which called for a 10-year jail term – he will be immediately deported from the US back to his home country of Indonesia. The penalties also included $28.4m in restitution to seven victims on top of a $20m forfeit. He lost an appeal against his conviction in 2015.

Kurniawan (44) was convicted in December 2014 in the first federal prosecution for wine fraud brought by the US federal authorities, after a trial which heard he had faked bottles of rare and vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy wines at his home in Arcadia.

He blended lower-priced wines so that they would mimic the taste and character of expensive vintages, poured his creations into empty genuine bottles that he procured from various sources.

Kurniawan then created a finished product by sealing the bottles with corks and outfitting them with counterfeit wine labels he created.

At the height of his operation between 2002 and 2012, Kurniawan was believed to be selling more than $1m worth of fine wine a month and was responsible for an estimated $150m worth of fake wine over the decade, according to fine wine experts.

Kurniawan was found out after Laurent Ponsot, head of the house of Domaine Ponsot, started looking into discrepancies regarding bottles of the house's Clos St Denis.

Around the same time, American billionaire Bill Koch found fake bottles in his collection and hired private detectives to investigate the matter.

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