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Prosecutors race to identify more fake wines as Kurniawan sentencing looms

Wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan is set to be sentenced later today after prosecutors worked round the clock to identify more fake fine wines made in the Indonesian's Los Angeles kitchen.

Several fake fine wines produced by Kurniawan were presented at his trial, but more bottles have since been uncovered

Kurniawan is due to learn of his fate before judge Richard Berman in New York today (7 August), more than six months since being convicted of making and selling fake fine wines and of fraudulently attempting to obtain a $3m loan.

The Indonesian’s sentencing has been delayed several times already, but Kurniawan’s defence team told Decanter.com that it expects a ruling to go ahead this time after a series of unspecified issues were resolved.

State prosecutors have asked for a maximum of 14 years in prison, but the defence has argued that their client should be released after having already spent more than two years in custody.

The main sticking point in recent weeks has been the prosecution’s ability to substantiate victims’ claims to money owed.

Specialists have worked through the night at times to authenticate wines, a source familiar with the situation told Decanter.com.

It is understood that experts have identified a further cache of wines purportedly worth several millions of dollars, but which are believed to have been concocted in Kurniawan’s kitchen sink and adorned with a label printed out on the fraudster’s home computer.

At a hearing two weeks ago, judge Berman ordered Kurniawan to forfeit $20m based on an estimation of monies owed.

However, prosecutors have said they believe the true amount of money spent on Kurniawan wines was likely more than $30m.

Separately, two weeks ago, Kurniawan agreed to ‘tell everything he knows’ and pay $3m to billionaire wine collector Bill Koch in order to settle a lawsuit filed in California.

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Written by Chris Mercer

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