Kurniawan Is Going to Jail, But Not His Fake Wines

Although convicted wine fraud Rudy Kurniawan will be put away in prison for 14 years, his fake wines will still circulate the market, says Decanter’s Chris Mercer.

According to New York state prosecutor’s sentencing report on Kurniawan, “the self-styled Dr. Conti was so prolific [Kurniawan’s] presence on the fine wine market is unlikely be contained by the physical confines of a prison cell.” Kurniawan is expected to be sentenced on May 29th.

Kurniawan concocted fake versions of fine wines at his home in Los Angeles, selling them to private investors and collectors. Because Kurniawan kept poor watch over his sales records, we can only estimate how much wine the fraudster sold over the years. “The government has been able to establish that Kurniawan sold at least $20.73 million in fake wine that has not been returned for a refund,” said prosecutors. The true total will almost certainly be higher that $30 million, they added. 

Now the question is, how will experts and collectors go about spotting these faux wines in the years to come? [Decanter] [Photo: Flickr/Derek Gavey]