Kurniawan pleads for sympathy

6th May, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Wine fraudster, Rudy Kurniawan, has pleaded for sympathy ahead of his sentencing claiming he only bottled fake vintages because he felt pressured to keep up with “elite collectors” and wanted to impress famous friends such as Jackie Chan.

Rudy-Kurniawan-arrestedThe 37-year-old is facing up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced at the end of this month after he found guilty on several counts of fraud by a New York Jury in December.

Between 2004 to 2012, Kurniawan is believed to have manufactured 12,000 bottles of fake vintages which he then sold at auction in 2006 for $1.3million before using the counterfeit wines as collateral to secure a loan of $3 million.

However the convicted fraudster has said he should instead receive time served because he only carried out his scheme to impress new friends such as Jackie Chan and keep up with the wine collecting elite, according to a report by the NYdailynews.com.

Prosecutors at the trial argued Kurniawan was motivated by “greed” and an “unquenchable thirst for luxury cars, designer clothing and the finest food and drinks.”

However the Indonesian-born wine dealer claims his crimes were motivated by friendship — not money.

A paper filed by lawyers representing Kurniawan at the Manhattan Federal Court read: “Rudy liked being the center of attention.

“He wanted to enjoy the spotlight and the recognition of this special group of people.”

Referring to a party in which actor Jackie Chan was a guest of honour at a party for Kurniawan’s mother, the paper read: “The highlight of the evening for Rudy was when Jackie Chan stood on a chair and applauded Rudy.”

“It was the best night of his life.”

Kurniawan is due to be sentenced on May 29.

3 Responses to “Kurniawan pleads for sympathy”

  1. Josh says:

    Pathetic. Who cares what motivated him? He’s a criminal, period. Everything else is so much window dressing.

  2. Does anyone believe Rudy acted alone? Maybe he should come clean and prosecutors could extend some leniency in exchange for naming names. Just no way others weren’t aware if not fully complicit.

  3. David Boyer says:

    I believe there are times in life that people make poor choices, sometimes based on extenuating circumstances, and deserve a break or a second chance – this is not one of them. In this case, my sympathies are extended to the victims only. There are no circumstances I can think of that would compel me to have sympathy for Kurniawan, who would have us believe he was so socially deprived that he had to counterfeit wine in order to assuage his ego. His decisions and undeniably intentional actions have detrimentally rocked an entire industry that will have a lasting effect for years to come. Forty years seems about right to me considering the breadth of his crimes.

    David Boyer
    blog.classof1855.com

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