Rudy Kurniawan indicted

10th May, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Alleged wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on four counts and faces extradition to the East Coast state.

Rudy

Kurniawan was formally accused by the jury of mail and wire fraud to sell counterfeit wine, defrauding a finance company, double pledging collateral, and scheming to defraud a California wine collector and a New York auction house.

The charges were filed by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Kurniawan, 35, has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles since his arrest by the FBI on 8 March at his home, as reported on thedrinksbusiness.com.

According to a source in the US Department of Justice, Kurniawan will be imminently extradited to New York in a government plane by a federal marshal.

The indictment details how Kurniawan, an Indonesian national, allegedly “assisted in the creation of counterfeit wines” in a home laboratory.

It describes Kurniawan as a wizard at concocting fake wines by mixing and matching younger, less valuable wines “that mimicked the taste, colour and character of rare and expensive wines.”

The indictment alleges that during a search of his home, the FBI found evidence of numerous bottles being counterfeited, including a California Pinot Noir that Kurniawan had marked as “40’s/50’s DRC,” referring to Burgundy estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

Agents also found thousands of counterfeit labels for wines dating as far back as 1899, including labels for all the Bordeaux first growths as well as Burgundies such as Domaine Ponsot.

The home operation was fitted out with hundreds of used corks, foil capsules and hardened wax which, when heated, could seal the mouths of bottles.

There were also hundreds of rubber stamps for vintage dates, ranging from Château Latour 1899 to Screaming Eagle 1992, and empty bottles of fine and rare wines ready to be filled and “recycled”.

Several shipments of empty bottles were mailed to Kurniawan at his request by a New York restaurant he frequented.

Two auctions play a major part in the case against Kurniawan. In April 2008, 22 lots of purported Domaine Ponsot wines were withdrawn at the insistence of proprietor Laurent Ponsot, from an Acker Merrall & Condit sale.

This February, 78 bottles of wine listed as DRC were withdrawn from a Spectrum auction in London. The indictment alleges the wines were fakes, consigned by a paid “straw man” for Kurniawan.

If Kurniawan were to be convicted on all charges, he could face up to 100 years in jail. More likely, according to sentencing guidelines, he would face 87 to 108 months.

Asked about his client’s state of mind, Kurniawan’s lawyer, Michael Proctor of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor said: “He’s strong, very strong.”

One Response to “Rudy Kurniawan indicted”

  1. Tyler Colman says:

    I’m curious, did you speak with Michael Procter, Kurniawan’s defendant? Here’s what appeared on WineSpectator.com:

    “Kurniawan’s lawyer, Michael Proctor of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, told Wine Spectator, “We’re going to defend the case using the facts and law and the U.S. Constitution and look at all the angles. It’s very early in the legal process.” Asked about his client’s state of mind, Proctor said, “He’s strong, very strong.”

    http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/46771

    Did you also speak with Proctor?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Editorial Assistant

Wine List Confidential
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more