NEW YORK (AP) — A wine collector convicted of fraud for manufacturing fake vintage wine in his California kitchen has asked a judge for leniency Thursday, saying his actions were foolish.
Rudy Kurniawan told the judge in a letter that he "never meant to hurt or embarrass anyone" and asked that he be allowed to return to his ailing 67-year-old mother.
Kurniawan's letter to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman was filed the same day his sentencing was postponed to July 17.
A jury convicted Kurniawan in December of mail and wire fraud charges that could bring up to 40 years in prison. Prosecutors say federal sentencing guidelines call for him to serve at least 11 years in prison while defense lawyers say the two years he has spent in prison already is sufficient punishment.
Prosecutors say Kurniawan, 37, made between $8 million and $20 million from 2004 to 2012 by selling bogus bottles of wine he manufactured in his Arcadia, California kitchen. The government said the profits enabled him to live affluently in suburban Los Angeles, mingling with wealthy and influential people interested in vintage wine as he bought luxury cars, designer clothing and dined at the best restaurants.