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Sour grape wine fraud man deported to Indonesia

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A California lone man who sold millions to collectors for a lower price in his kitchen has been deported to his native Indonesia, U.S. immigration officials said on Tuesday.

Rudy Kourniawan, 44, was deported from Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport to Jakarta on a commercial flight last week, according to a statement from the U.S. Customs Service’s Immigration Department.

“He is a threat to public safety because of his aggravated conviction for the crime,” the statement said.

Kurniavan came to the United States on a student visa in the 1990s. He unsuccessfully applied for political asylum. He was ordered to leave the country voluntarily, but remained illegally.

Kurniavan, whose family was able to acquire a beer distributor in Indonesia, was convicted in 2013 by a federal court in New York of “wire fraud” and spent seven years in prison. He was released from prison in November last year on immigration charges and was deported.

Before the public eye for the wine industry, prosecutors in New York’s Kurniavan District Court said he made millions of dollars between 2004 and 2012 by putting the less expensive Napa և Burgundy wines in fake bottles at his home in the Arcadia suburb of Los Angeles.

The scheme was recalculated in the 2016 Netflix documentary “Sour Grapes” և in the March episode of ABC’s “The Con”.

The testimony of billionaire yacht, entrepreneur and winemaker William Koch was presented during the trial in Kourniavan, who said that he was deceived by Kourniavan by paying $ 2.1 million for 219 counterfeit wine.

The wine specialist testified that 19,000 counterfeit wine bottles were collected from Kourniavan’s property, representing the 27 best wines in the world.

Hundreds of bottles, corks and stamps were found in a 2012 FBI raid on a home.

Kourniavan gained a reputation as a buyer-seller of rare wines, with tens of millions of dollars net in wine auctions. Other collectors called him “Dr. Conti “for the love of Burgundian wine – Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

At an auction in 2006, Kourniavan sold $ 24.7 million worth of wine, a record for a single recipient.

However, the scheme began to be resolved after it was discovered that some of the batches he had submitted to the auction were counterfeit. In 2007, Christie’s auction house in Los Angeles pulled out a company that was supposed to be the 1982 Château Le Pin after the company said the bottles were counterfeit.

In 2008, 22 more Domaine Ponsot wines worth more than $ 600,000 were withdrawn from sale amid questions about their authenticity.

One bottle of Domaine Ponsot, which Kourniavan tried to sell at auction in 2008, came out as it was made in 1929, although the winemaker did not start bottling real estate until 1934. For others, 1945 և In 1971, although Domain Ponsot said that the vineyard was not used until 1982.

Prosecutors say Kourniavan once again auctioned off a larger number of 1947 Château Lafleur magnets.

In total, Kourniavan may have sold 12,000 bottles of counterfeit wine, many of which may still remain in the collections.

Prosecutors say the fraudulent proceeds are funded by a luxury lifestyle in a Los Angeles suburb that includes Lamborghini և other luxury cars, designer clothing և delicacies և drinks. The government confiscated his property.

At the time of sentencing, Kourniavan was ordered to pay $ 28.4 million in compensation to seven victims and deprive them of $ 20 million in property.

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