Counterfeit Wine Maker Makes Typos, Gets Attention of Federal Prosecutors
Federal prosecutors have charged Rudy Kurniawan, also known as "Dr. Conti" and "Mr. 47," with fraud. The wine seller, who sold purportedly rare and expensive vintages of wine, operated a counterfeit laboratory in his California home for a decade while swindling unsuspecting wine lovers.
Kurniawan allegedly blended a variety of lower-priced wines in order to mimic the taste and character of rare and expensive wines and then sealed them in empty bottles with counterfeit labels. He also allegedly ordered empty bottles that once held the rare wines from restaurants in the New York City area and had them shipped, using them to help pass off the counterfeit vintages. According to the twenty-five-page indictment, Kurniawan sold the bottles alongside genuine bottles in hopes to elude detection by alleging the counterfeits were "spoiled bottles or aberrations" if consumers complained.
According to the complaint, Kurniawan fooled several auction houses, but raised suspicion when misspellings, package errors, and incorrect dates surfaced on the products.
If you're going to fake a product, at least make sure the counterfeit labels match the original. Even the most gullible consumers won't be fooled mismatched dates and typos.