Collectors warned of counterfeit wine

Nov. 8, 2012 at 6:53 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Investigative television program Inside Edition said a Florida billionaire has admitted woefully that he has spent millions of dollars on fraudulent wine.

"It's a fantastic scam, and I'm sure it's been going on for years," said billionaire Bill Koch.

"I'm sure there's no sympathy for billionaires, but fraud is fraud, and a cheat is a cheat," Koch said.

"Koch estimates he's blown millions of dollars on hundreds of rare bottles of famous wine that have all turned out to be fakes," Inside Edition said in a release.

By example, Koch paid more than $400,000 for a set of bottles sold to him as once belonging to Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

But Koch now says he was swindled.

Inside Edition then said it tested the theory that the rare wine business was full of fakes and bought a $3,400 bottle of 1953 Chateau Petrus, which an expert, Maureen Downey, declared was "worthless."

Downey is founder of Chai Consulting Group, which specializes in authenticating bottles of wine.

Michael Goldstein, owner of Park Avenue Liquors in Manhattan, where the bottle was purchased, later offered the show a refund and claimed he did not know the bottle was a fake.

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