Rudy Kurniawan set to be released from prison
Wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan is set to be released from prison on Saturday, seven years after he was found guilty of multiple counts of wine fraud.
According to Wine-Searcher, 44-year-old Kurniawan is due to be released from Correctional Institution Reeves in Pecos, Texas, on 7 November and deported from the United States.
As reported by Wine-Searcher, Kurniawan has spent the last seven years in Correctional Institution Reeves, a privately run prison in Texas with a capacity for 3,763 inmates, making it one of the largest private prisons in the world.
In December 2013 Indonesian national Kurniawan was found guilty of multiple counts of wine fraud, worth over US$1m, by a jury in New York.
Kurniawan was found guilty of mail fraud for making fake wines which he sold for $1.3m between 2004-2012, and also wire fraud for using the fake wines as collateral to secure a loan of US$3m. He is believed to have sold as many as 12,000 bottles of fake fine wine at auction in 2006.
After months of delays, Kurniawan was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August 2014 by Manhattan US District Judge Richard Berman, making him the first person to go to jail for selling counterfeit wine in the US.
He was also ordered to pay US$28.4 million in restitution to his victims, and another US$20 million as part of a forfeiture agreement. In court Judge Berman said Kurniawan had perpetrated “a bold, grandiose, unscrupulous, but destined to fail con”.
Kurniawan crafted his counterfeit wines by mixing old wine with newer vintages in his LA kitchen before passing them off as more expensive, sought after wines. A documentary called Sour Grapes charting Kurniawan’s rise and fall was released in 2016.