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Thursday 24 April 2014

Kurniawan found guilty

18th December, 2013 by Rupert Millar

Wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan has been found guilty on multiple counts of fraud worth over $1 million by a jury in New York.

kurniawan trialHe was found guilty on several counts of fraud, including mail fraud for making fake wines which he then sold for $1.3m between 2004 – 2012 and also wire fraud for using the counterfeit wines as collateral to secure a loan of $3 million.

He is believed to have sold 12,000 bottles at auction in 2006.

The jury took less than two hours to find the Indonesian national guilty following a court case that has been keenly watched by the wine world.

Over the course of the trial the court heard how Kurniawan’s home in California was a “factory” for fake wine production, heard testimony from billionaire Bill Koch and Burgundian winemakers Laurent Ponsot and Aubert de Villaine.

Ponsot said after the verdict was read out that he felt “no pity” for Kurniawan and that he was “satisfied”, though not “happy”, with the outcome.

It was also claimed by witnesses that as much as 80% of the wine Kurniawan put up for sale was fake and prosecutors told the jury that the case was built on “greed“.

He is to be sentenced on 24 April and faces at least 20 years in prison and possibly up to 40. He plans to appeal.

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