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Counterfeiting $10,000 bottles of Wine... heck, they Counterfeit entire Companies!

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posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 12:43 PM
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I wanted to make a thread after listening to NPR this morning where they talked about how the counterfeit wine business is booming because it can be so hard to authenticate an old bottle of wine. Newer bottles of wine have anti-counterfeiting technology in the labels (which can also probably be faked, but it makes it more difficult), but old rare bottles of wine that were from before this technology was available can be easily counterfeited.

There is absolutely no way to tell if the wine is legitimately what the bottle says by taste alone - this is because wine is a living thing and no individual has a palate that accurate. NPR Article: www.npr.org...

The NPR article discusses a man who had an entire wine-counterfeiting "factory" (not an actual factory, but in his home). Rudy Kurniawan made over $50 million from counterfeit wine (from the article):


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On an early spring day in 2012, a half dozen FBI officers entered a house in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia. It belonged to an Indonesian named Rudy Kurniawan.

According to Maureen Downey, founder of winefraud.com, his home was kept to 55 degrees. "His elderly mother had to have a space heater in her bedroom because it was so damned cold," says Downey. "The entire house was cellar temperature.

Inside the FBI found everything to produce counterfeit wine: corks, dozens of empty bottles and 18,000 labels of the world's rarest wines.

"The whole thing was a wine counterfeiting factory," says Downey.

By the time of his arrest, the then 37-year-old Kurniawan had been living the high life. He had amassed a breathtaking cellar of Bordeauxs and Burgundys, and regularly organized tastings of old and expensive bottles for other collectors. At the same time, the FBI says Kurniawan was concocting his own wines in his kitchen and selling them as precious vintages to unsuspecting collectors.
A woman drinks from a wine glass
The Salt
The Man Who Duped Millionaires Into Paying Big Bucks For Fake Wine
French physicist Philippe Hubert uses gamma rays to detect radioactivity in wine. "In the wine is the story of the Atomic Age," he says.
The Salt
How Atomic Particles Helped Solve A Wine Fraud Mystery

"Take for example one of the most highly counterfeited wines, which is 1945 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti," Downey says. "That wine, they made two barrels of it, which is exactly 600 bottles."

Downey says she's finding counterfeit bottles of it all over the world. A genuine bottle would be worth well over $100,000.

And yet, says Downey, Kurniawan was able to sell much of it: "He would make it to order."

And he fooled plenty of people, selling at least $50 million worth of counterfeit wine.

In 2012, he got caught, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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It got me thinking about other counterfeiting operations, and I found a great article on Cracked about how the Chinese are the best at counterfeiting many items, and have gone so far as counterfeiting Apple stores - I heard about this years ago and it slipped from my memory but I'm glad I had the curiosity to look into it.

From the cracked.com articlewww.cracked.com...:

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When Chinese counterfeiters decide to set up a series of knockoff store chains, they don't mess around trying to be subtle.

They have the Apple logo, the displays and even blue-T-shirt-clad staff members sporting that classic Apple smug grin.


The illusion was so perfect that even the employees thought the place was legit. Let's say that again: Even though it's a complete knockoff, all the employees completely believed they were working for Apple.

Chinese officials have so far found a total of 22 fake Apple stores operating across the country. Hell, at least when somebody opened a chain of fake Ikea stores, they had the courtesy to reverse the color scheme.

***********************************************************************************************


Anyway, I wanted to share this with my ATS folks since I thought it was cool.
edit on 13-10-2015 by FamCore because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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I remember one of the Koch brothers sued some of these wine fraudsters and the auction houses that sold their 'collections' a few years back.

As someone who drinks and collects wine I am always leery of buying anything that did not originate from a store or distributor.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 12:57 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

The "expert" on NPR (I can't remember his name or title) mentioned that a few ways counterfeiters get caught are from inconsistencies in the bottle/cork/etc., and using a date or vineyard on a bottle where no such wine was produced during that time/at that place.

But anyone intelligent enough to want to counterfeit a $10,000+ bottle of wine should've done that research in the first place, I'm amazed anyone would be that stupid in the first place.

There are folks who counterfeit cheaper wine, even as cheap as $5-7 because they can still get away with a profit and it's tough for people to spot a fake.


The other thing the guy on NPR said was that most times when people find out they do indeed have a counterfeit bottle, they will more than likely try to resell it as if it's legit because wine collectors do NOT want to take a huge loss (obviously), and thus the counterfeit bottles remain in circulation rather than being exposed



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:09 PM
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I like fine watches. There are all kinds of companies (mostly chinese) doing some pretty decent fakes of Rolexes, Panerai, etc. Those in the know can usually spot the differences, but really hard to detect just casually glancing.

When buying used watches, there is saying that "you buy the seller, not the watch"



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:14 PM
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Anybody that would pay ten grand for a bottle of wine deserves to be swindled.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:24 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

I had a fake Rolex actually, funny you brought it up. It was evident it was fake because it "ticked", and a real Rolex does not (the second hand has a smooth "sweep", without the "tick,tick,tick").

Buying from an authentic Certified Rolex Dealer is a good way to ensure you're getting the real deal



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:33 PM
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originally posted by: FamCore

The other thing the guy on NPR said was that most times when people find out they do indeed have a counterfeit bottle, they will more than likely try to resell it as if it's legit because wine collectors do NOT want to take a huge loss (obviously), and thus the counterfeit bottles remain in circulation rather than being exposed


That was a big portion of the law suit I mentioned above, they sued Royal Wines and others who they said knowingly auctioned counterfeit wine.




edit on 13-10-2015 by AugustusMasonicus because: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:33 PM
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originally posted by: Bluntone22

Anybody that would pay ten grand for a bottle of wine deserves to be swindled.


Why? They are used for commodity investment similar to gold.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:34 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated

I like fine watches. There are all kinds of companies (mostly chinese) doing some pretty decent fakes of Rolexes, Panerai, etc. Those in the know can usually spot the differences, but really hard to detect just casually glancing.

When buying used watches, there is saying that "you buy the seller, not the watch"


My buddy bought a fake Panerai, it took my longer than I liked to spot the differences, even holding it up to mine.





edit on 13-10-2015 by AugustusMasonicus because: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: AugustusMasonicus

Thanks for bringing up the Koch thing - he's a billionaire and he settled this suit for $100,000. I think he wanted to make an example out of them nypost.com/2014/07/16/koch-settles-lawsuit-against-auctioneer-over-fake-vintage-wines/



Koch purchased five bottles of French wine from Acker in 2005 and 2006 for $78,000. The auction house even touted its source for a bottle of 1949 Chateau Lafleur noting, “Over the years, and after seeing numerous counterfeit wines, this collector takes exceptional pride in the bottles he has acquired and the quality of his collection.” But it turned out the $10,000 bottle was a fake.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 02:05 PM
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originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus

originally posted by: Edumakated

I like fine watches. There are all kinds of companies (mostly chinese) doing some pretty decent fakes of Rolexes, Panerai, etc. Those in the know can usually spot the differences, but really hard to detect just casually glancing.

When buying used watches, there is saying that "you buy the seller, not the watch"


My buddy bought a fake Panerai, it took my longer than I liked to spot the differences, even holding it up to mine.






I have a Panerai and you really have to know what to look for to spot the fake ones. They usually screw up the sandwich dial or if you see the movement there is no swan neck regulator. They also tend to screw up the watch diameters making these huge 50mm cases, etc. The ticking hand instead of sweeping on a Rolex is always a give away.

When I was in college, I bought a fake Tag Heuer link watch. The only way you could tell it was fake is that each individual link is not two separate pieces like on real ones. You also knew it was fake as soon as you submerged it in water! I forgot to take it off and got in a hot tub. The watch face immediately filled up with water. LOL.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 02:09 PM
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originally posted by: Edumakated

They usually screw up the sandwich dial or if you see the movement there is no swan neck regulator.


His did not have enough jewels which I had to count and compare to mine. If it did not have a display back it would have been even harder.



posted on Oct, 13 2015 @ 02:12 PM
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a reply to: FamCore

He also had a $12million judgment against the person who sold an auction house fake wine reduced to under $1million but that fraudster got the message too.



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