LOS ANGELES – A one-time California man who bilked wine collectors out of millions by selling cheaper booze he rebottled in his kitchen has been deported to his native Indonesia, U.S. immigration officials said Tuesday.
Rudy Kurniawan, 44, was deported last week on a commercial flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Jakarta, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
“He is a public safety threat because of his aggravated felony conviction," the statement said.
Kurniawan came to the United States on a student visa in the 1990s. He unsuccessfully sought political asylum and was ordered to voluntarily leave the country in 2003 but stayed on illegally, authorities said.
Kurniawan, whose family gained wealth operating a beer distributorship in Indonesia, was convicted of mail and wire fraud in 2013 in a New York federal court and spent seven years in prison. He was deported after being released from prison into immigration custody last November.
In a public black eye for the wine industry, prosecutors at Kurniawan's New York trial said he made millions of dollars from 2004 to 2012 by putting less-expensive Napa and Burgundy wines into counterfeit bottles at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia.
The scheme was recounted in the 2016 Netflix documentary, “Sour Grapes,” and in a March episode of ABC’s “The Con."
Kurniawan's trial featured testimony from billionaire yachtsman, entrepreneur and wine investor William Koch, who said he was conned and cheated by Kurniawan into paying $2.1 million for 219 fake bottles of wine.