Kurniawan prosecutors call for 14 years13th May, 2014 by Rupert Millar
Lawyers prosecuting convicted wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan have panned his defence’s plea for leniency and called for a jail term of up to 14 years.
Towards the beginning of the month the Indonesian national’s defence team hoped to find a sympathetic ear among the jury by portraying Kurniawan as a man desperate to please and who made the fake wine to impress friends and keep up with the fast set of “elite” wine collectors he found himself among.
Yesterday (Monday 12 May), the prosecution derided those claims saying Kurniawan was driven by a “lust” for money and attention which saw him splash out on art, fast cars, an enormous mansion in Beverly Hills and flights on private jets.
“Kurniawan’s sentencing memorandum is chock full of wholly unconvincing and blame-shifting excuses,” they claimed.
They also rubbished an apparent apology that Kurniawan wrote calling it insincere and that he was rather more “sorry that he was caught”.
They added further that, as Kurniawan kept bad records of his various transactions, the true amount of fake wine sold may top US$30 million rather than the $20.7m currently quoted.
They called for a prison term of 11 to 14 years as well as the division of Kurniawan’s remaining assets between those he defrauded despite his defence team’s assertion that he is too poor to pay.
Kurniawan will be sentenced on 29 May in New York, he was convicted of multiple accounts of fine wine fraud in December last year.