Guilty plea in French Laundry stolen wine case
A Modesto man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to transport high-end wine stolen from restaurants in Yountville, Cupertino and San Francisco, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Davis Kiryakoz, 44, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 2 on the conspiracy charge and additional offenses related to the transportation of stolen goods.
The value of the wines was more than $870,000, of which more than $370,000 was to be shipped in interstate commerce, prosecutors said.
An alleged co-conspirator, Alfred Georgis, 53, of Mountain View, has not entered a plea to the indictment, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Abraham Simmons said.
As part of his guilty plea, Kiryakoz admitted conspiring between March 2013 and January 2015 to transport stolen wine, and that he was involved in stealing them.
On Dec. 26, 110 bottles of high-end wine valued at $549,447 were stolen from the French Laundry in Yountville. Sixty-three bottles of wine worth more than $200,000 were shipped to a buyer in North Carolina in exchange for wire transfers from several cities in California, including Modesto, San Jose and Los Gatos, prosecutors said.
When the North Carolina buyer learned the wine was stolen, he refused to make further payments.
Kiryakoz also admitted arranging shipment of 17 bottles of wine worth $25,550 that were stolen from Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino on Nov. 8, 2014. He also admitted conspiring to steal 29 bottles of wine worth $32,000 from Alexander’s Steakhouse, prosecutors said.
Kiryakoz also admitted conspiring to arrange for the theft of wine from Fine Wines International of San Francisco. The 142 bottles of wine worth $290,000 were stolen on March 27, 2013, and Kiryakoz admitted the value of the wines he actually shipped was $127,755, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Kiryakoz is out of custody and is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in San Jose on March 28.