How Did 'Rare' Wine Dealer Make Millions from His Fakes?

Rudy Kurniawan made millions of dollars by selling wine that he mixed together at home and sold as rare vintages

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Rudy Kurniawan, a renowned wine dealer who specialized in rare wines, was sentenced on Thursday, August 8 to serve jail time for defrauding his clients out of millions of dollars.

Kurniawan, whose clients included some of the wealthiest people in the country, had been selling “old bottles of wine mixed together,” for which he spent several years creating fake labels, reports The New York Times.

Along with prison time, Kurniawan was ordered to pay more than $28 million in restitution to his victims, who include billionaire William Koch, Univision CEO Andrew Hobson, and Quest Software founder David Doyle.

At his sentencing on Thursday, Kurniawan’s lawyer told the court that his client had gotten in over his head and that “Rudy wanted to be accepted and recognized” by his peers. 

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.