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Alleged Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Indicted

on 10/05/12 at 7:30 am

Federal grand jury hands down charges against the wine collector; he could be extradited to New York soon.

A federal grand jury in New York has indicted accused wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan on four counts of mail and wire fraud to sell counterfeit wine, of defrauding a finance company, of double pledging collateral, and of scheming to defraud a California wine collector and a New York auction house.

The charges were filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Kurniawan, 35, an Indonesian national, has been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles since his arrest by the FBI on March 8 at his home. According to a source in the U.S. Department of Justice, Kurniawan will be extradited to New York in a government plane by a federal marshal, possibly as early as May 10.

The indictment details how Kurniawan allegedly “created and/or assisted in the creation of counterfeit wines” in a home laboratory. It describes Kurniawan as a wizard at concocting fake wines by mixing and matching younger, less valuable wines “that mimicked the taste, color and character of rare and expensive wines.” During their search of his home, the indictment alleges, the FBI found evidence of numerous bottles being counterfeited, including a relatively recent California Pinot Noir that Kurniawan had marked as “40’s/50’s DRC, ” potentially referring to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

FULL STORY via wine Spectator