Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deported an Indonesian citizen Thursday who was convicted in New York of selling millions of dollars in counterfeit wine to affluent clients over nearly a decade.
Rudy Kurniawan, 44, was deported on a commercial flight hat departed the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, ICE officials said Tuesday. He arrived at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang City, Bann, Indonesia, on Friday.
Kurniawan is featured in the Netflix 2016 documentary, “Sour Grapes,” which describes the story of a scheme that flooded the American wine market with fake vintage wine valued in the millions of dollars. “He is a public safety threat because of his aggravated felony conviction,” officials said in a statement.
In 1990, Kurniawan entered the United States through California a couple of times as a non-immigrant visitor for pleasure and departed the country both times. Between 1995 and 1997, the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) admitted him to the United States at Los Angeles as a non-immigrant student with an F-1 visa.
On July 27, 2000, he applied for an immigration benefit, which was later denied, and on Nov. 21, 2000, the INS served Kurniawan with a notice to appear before an immigration court for failure to maintain or comply with the conditions of the non-immigrant status under which he entered the United States.
On March 19, 2001, an immigration judge in Los Angeles granted Kurniawan a voluntary departure until May 19, 2001. Kurniawan appealed that decision on March 30, 2001, to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and on March 25, 2003 it denied his appeal and permitted him to voluntarily depart from the United States within 30 days from the date of the order.
Kurniawan failed to depart the country, and as a result the voluntary departure automatically became a final order of removal.
On March 3, 2012, the FBI in Los Angeles arrested Kurniawan for mail and wire fraud, and on Aug. 7, 2014, he was convicted of the same charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The Associated Press reports that “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.”
On Feb. 15, 2013, ERO New York issued an immigration detainer with the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center in New York and on Nov. 6, 2020, pursuant to the immigration detainer, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) released Kurniawan to the custody of ERO El Paso, pending his removal.