About 500 bottles of counterfeit wine have been destroyed in Texas in a case linked to a California dealer who mixed cheap vintages and sold them for millions of dollars.
Rudy Kurniawan in 2013 was convicted of mail and wire fraud in federal court in New York. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, ordered to forfeit $20 million and must make nearly $25 million in restitution.
Investigators said Kurniawan mixed wines in his kitchen, poured the concoctions into old bottles with fake vintage labels and sold the items to collectors.
The U.S. Marshals Service has a warehouse in Texas, where the seized counterfeit wine was transported.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Regulators on Thursday oversaw destruction of the bottles for recycling at a facility near Austin. The would-be wine was dumped over mulch.
“It may sound ironic that we are selling wine that belonged to a convicted wine counterfeiter,” said Assistant Program Manager Jason Martinez of the U.S. Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Division, “but we are duty-bound to recoup as much value from the sale of these authentic wines as possible to compensate those who were victims of his fraud.”
KXAN-TV in Austin reports the money made from selling the authentic bottles will be given to the victims who fell for the man's scam.