Feds Reject Appeal for Infamous Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan

A court of appeals has rejected Kurniawan’s argument that an FBI search of his home without a warrant violated his rights
Feds Reject Appeal for Infamous Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan

Photo: Flickr/Faisal Akram/CC BY SA 2.0

During the 2012 search on the day of his arrest, FBI agents discovered a counterfeit wine ‘workshop’ used by Kurniawan to mislabel blends of old wine as rare and extremely expensive bottles. 

A three-judge panel has rejected an appeal for notorious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan, the man who defrauded wealthy clients out of millions of dollars by mixing together old bottles of wine and relabeling them as highly coveted vintages.

In November, Kurniawan’s own carefully curated collection of rare wines was auctioned off to the public. Convicted in 2013 for mail and wire fraud related to his lucrative counterfeit wine scheme, Kurniawan was sentenced to jail time in 2014, and ordered to pay more than $28 million in restitution to his clients.

Among his most successful exploits, Kurniawan once sold several magnums of 1947 Château Lafleur for $24.7 million — the most expensive single purchase of wine ever made at auction.

The judges’ ruling, which came with a summary order “signals that the judges didn't feel that this was a real close case and that the trial judge got it right,” a lawyer familiar with the case told Wine Spectator. “So a lengthy explanation is unnecessary. This order was slick and quick.” Kurniawan’s central argument, that an FBI search of his home during the morning of his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights,   was dismissed by the ruling. During the search, FBI agents discovered a counterfeiting workshop where Kurniawan mixed together old bottles of wine and resold them for millions. 

Kurniawan, an Indonesian national, could petition the court to let him finish out his 10-year sentence in his home country. 

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