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Calif. Wine Collector Convicted Of Fraud In N.Y.

Rudy Kurniawan Sold More Than $1.3 Worth Of Fake Bottles Of Wine
Wine Bottles (file/credit: Clip Art)

Wine Bottles (file/credit: Clip Art)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A wine collector from California was convicted Wednesday of fraud for manufacturing fake old wine in his kitchen.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, wine connoisseurs rejoiced after a jury took less than two hours to return a guilty verdict against Rudy Kurniawan.

Kurniawan was convicted of mail and wire fraud for selling more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit bottles of purportedly rare and expensive wine to wealthy collectors.

French wine expert Michael Egan, of Bordeaux, testified for the government in the case.  “I was able to prove to them that the bottles, all the bottles were fake — which were on display and also in many instances actually show the components of the bottles, so we had the fake labels, we had the fake stamps for the corks,” Egan said.

In closing arguments a day earlier, a prosecutor said Kurniawan put on a “magic show” to fool aficionados into thinking he had access to the world’s rarest bottles.

Prosecutors said money from the fraud funded a lavish lifestyle in suburban Los Angeles, Calif. that included luxury cars, designer clothing and fine food and drinks.

The U.S. disctrict judge set Kurniawan’s sentencing for April 24.

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