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Wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan loses appeal

Rudy Kurniawan has lost an appeal against his conviction and 10-year sentence for making and selling fakes of some of the world's finest wines, according to a US court summary order.

Rudy Kurniawan appeal ‘meritless’:

A US appeals court in New York has upheld Rudy Kurniawan‘s conviction for making and selling counterfeit wine – handed down almost two years to the day – and his subsequent decade-long prison sentence, according to a court summary order dated 22 December and seen by Decanter.com.

The ruling is a blow to Kurniawan and his lawyers, who had argued that the conviction was unsafe, partly because FBI officers did not have a proper warrant when they raided the wine fraudster’s Los Angeles home in 2012.

‘We reject Kurniawan’s arguments as meritless,’ ruled a panel of judges for the US Court of the Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court also upheld Kurniawan’s conviction for fraudulently attempting to get a $3m loan.

Kurniawan was named in court papers throughout his December 2013 trial as ‘Dr Conti’, a reference to his prolific counterfeiting of Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

He fooled wine collectors for several years by producing fakes of fine and rare wines in his kitchen, which he shared with his mother, and then printing off labels on his home computer.

He used ‘speciality paper that is used for its antique appearance’, FBI officers reported in their original evidence.

Kurniawan’s failed appeal comes only a week after around 500 bottles of his counterfeit wines were crushed by US Marshals at a landfill site in Texas.

In October, US Marshals put his Lamborghini up for auction in order to raise funds for victims defrauded. An online auction of authenticated bottles in Kurniawan’s old wine cellar fetched around $1.5m in November.

At the time of his sentencing in 2014, Kurniawan was ordered to repay $28.4m to victims. His lawyers have maintained that he was left penniless himself.

Some fine wine experts believe that a significant number of wines emanating from Kurniawan have not been traced.

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