Wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan gets 10 years in jail
- 7 August 2014
- From the section Business
Wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan, 37, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail and ordered to pay $20m (£11.8m) for his role in selling millions of dollars worth of fake wine.
He has also been ordered to pay $28.4m in restitution to victims, who include billionaire William Koch.
Mr Kurniawan is the first person ever to go to jail for selling fake wine in the US.
He was found guilty of mixing old wine with newer vintages in his kitchen.
Mr Kurnaiwan then passed them off as even more expensive wines.
The scheme ran from 2004 to 2012, according to government prosecutors. In December, he was found guilty of committing wire and mail fraud.
As an Indonesian national, Mr Kurniawan will be deported once his sentence is served. He has already spent two years in jail since being arrested in March of 2012.
Analysis: Michelle Fleury, New York Business Reporter
Rudy Kurniawan was rumbled selling fake vintage wines to fuel a lifestyle of fast cars and expensive art.
But we still don't know exactly how many bogus bottles he sold. And perhaps we never will.
Part of the problem is that many of his rich and famous clients kept quiet. Perhaps they were embarrassed.
Or maybe they were hoping to resell some of the wines they'd bought from him.
Only a handful of his victims ever stepped forward during his trial.
They included a billionaire (Bill Koch), a real estate mogul (Peter Fascitelli) and a California restaurateur (David Doyle).
An avid collector himself, Kurniawan was once considered one of the best aficionados in the world.
In 2006 alone, it was believed he sold up to 12,000 bottles at auction.
But authorities were said to have found thousands of labels for fine Burgundy and Bordeaux wine along with full, unlabelled bottles in Kurniawan's home.
Prosecutors argued Kurniawan deserved a longer sentence because he flaunted his ill-gotten gains "with extravagant purchases of authentic wine, luxury cars, a Beverly Hills mansion, flights on private jets, designer watches and clothing, fine art and much more".