Introduction By BillieBLVD
If you have been to any warm beach in the Caribbean you have seen peddlers on the street selling fake Cubans (look for the wooden box with the glass top). Many non-smokers that know a cigar smoker are faced with the opportunity to procure forbidden fruit. They offer their money in exchange for a smile on the face as they pass a well thought out gift to their beloved cigar smoker when they get home, But that does not happen, The cigar smoker must inform the kind hearted sucker that he or she has been swindled. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to impact of fake Cuban cigars, fake French wine, and fake whiskey (or whisky). Barcodes on cigar bands have been used, serial numbers on bottles, phone apps that can read unique identifiers and countless other methods have been deployed but the madness of fakeness marches on, In the linked article they start with a fake wine factory and I can only imagine what the fake cigar facility must look like.
On an early spring day in 2012, a half-dozen FBI agents 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.
"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."