(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Prosecutors in New York have accused an Indonesian millionaire once known as an up-and-comer in the world of rare wine collectors of trying to trick other wealthy buyers with more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit bottles.
Rudy Kurniawan, 35, was arrested on Thursday in Los Angeles, where he has lived in luxury for years despite a longstanding deportation order, U.S. prosecutors said. He is charged in New York with repeatedly trying to sell sophisticated fakes of vintages that can trade for thousands of dollars per bottle.
The criminal charges follow years of suspicions about Kurniawan among top wine connoisseurs. Some of his wines were pulled from a sale in 2007 after an auction house declared them to be fakes. The billionaire entrepreneur and wine investor William Koch sued Kurniawan in 2009, claiming that several bottles he'd purchased form him were phony.
Federal prosecutors in New York accused Kurniawan of engaging in "multiple fraudulent schemes" related to his wine business, including trying to sell 84 bottles of counterfeit Domaine Ponsot wine at an auction in 2008, and 78 bottles of bogus Burgundy wine from Domaine de la Rormanee-Conti at an auction last February.
Prosecutors said Kurniawan also fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in loans to finance his lavish lifestyle.
"Mr. Kurniawan's days of wine and wealth are over," the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said in a statement.
Investigators said in court papers that Kurniawan made some simple mistakes that led to his discovery. One of the bottles of Domaine Ponsot he tried to sell at auction in 2008 was passed off as having been made in 1929, even though the winemaker didn't begin estate bottling until 1934.