Rudy Kurniawan, aka “Dr. Conti” aka “Mr. 47,” was indicted on four counts of counterfeiting, mail fraud and wire fraud in federal court yesterday. Mike Steinberger posted the 25-page indictment signed by US Attorney Preet Bharara to his blog.
The indictment largely covers the same ground as the documents filed when Kurniawan was apprehended in his home in L.A. in March. It fails to name the auction house where Kurniawan was the consignor of wines in 2008 where Laurent Ponsot dramatically stopped the sale in the room even though it has been widely reported. Nor does it mention the London auction house where he allegedly sold fraudulent bottles through a front man even though it was widely discussed. The front man’s identity at that auction is not revealed; the New York City restaurant that shipped empty bottles to his home remains anonymous and several collectors are mentioned but not named. Further, the “relatively recent” California wines that were to indicated to pass off as older Bordeaux and Burgundy have not been named. So there are still some gaps to the story. But details will emerge as the legal proceedings continue; also, two articles in major, non-wine magazines are in the works.
The case is U.S. v. Kurniawan, 12-MAG-606, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.