Feds put a cork in Arcadia Wine Seller’s deceptive production

Rudy Kurniawan gets ten years in prison

Rudy Kurniawan, a wine collector (called in 2007 the possessor of “arguably the greatest cellar on Earth”) convicted of wine fraud last year, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
According to Wikipedia, he was arrested March 8, 2012 and indicted for allegedly selling fraudulent wine at auction. Allegedly, Kurniawan was buying large stocks of negociant Burgundy and re-labeling them as more expensive wines, such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. He consigned several lots of Clos St. Denis from Domaine Ponsot from vintages long prior to any recorded production of Ponsot wines from that vineyard; the auction lots were withdrawn prior to bidding.
On the morning of March 8, 2012, the FBI arrested Kurniawan at his home in Arcadia. When agents searched his house, they found inexpensive Napa wines with notes indicating they would be passed off as older vintages of Bordeaux, corks, stamps, labels, and other tools involved in counterfeiting wine. He was indicted on several counts of mail fraud and wire fraud in New York on March 9. Later investigations indicated that Kurniawan was purchasing inexpensive, though old, Burgundy wines and re-labeling them with prestigious producer names and vintages.
Kurniawan’s indictment was updated on April 8, 2013, consolidating the fraud charges, and adding two new charges-one for selling a faked jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945 in 2006 for $48,259 ($56.5 thousand in 2014 dollars), and one for selling six bottles of Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes Mares 1923 at a 2006 auction for $95,000 ($111 thousand in 2014 dollars). Domaine Georges Roumier did not produce wine prior to 1924, according to lead prosecutor Jason Hernandez, ergo the 1923 bottles must be fakes.
Kurniawan’s trial began on December 9, 2013, and concluded on December 18, 2013, when the jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment.

August 14, 2014

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