clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Con Artists Swindle Over $17,000 of Wine from London Restaurant

They pretended to work for "wealthy Arab clients."


Con artists have stolen thousands of dollars worth of wine from a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. According to the Evening Standard, Pied à Terre has fallen victim to scam where fraudsters pretending to work for "wealthy Arab clients" managed to snag over £11,000 ($17,180 USD) of high end champagne and vintage red wine.

Owner David Moore tells the paper that a man called the restaurant last month just before closing "begging to be sold magnums of Cristal" for his desperate rich customers. The restaurant sold the man three magnums of Cristal for £1,000 ($1,561 USD) each, a bottle of 1990 Cristal for £500 ($780 USD), and a bottle of 1990 Petrus red wine for £800 ($1,250 USD). He tried to pay for it with several different credit cards, but many failed to work. Eventually the mysterious man successfully paid for the purchase over three different cards and sent a cab driver to pick up the bottles.

The next day the restaurant was informed that the "cards were fraudulent" and that the payment was to be withheld pending an investigation.The gutsy crook called again that day asking for even more wine. This time, the restaurant pretended to agree to sale in an attempt to catch the criminal.

Police reluctantly came by to interview the cab driver sent to pick up the bottles who revealed that he had been hired to drive the bottles to a McDonald's. However, even after an undercover operation, police have yet to catch the criminals behind the scam. Moore and his restaurant are out of pocket thousands of dollars, but at least they didn't buy millions of dollars worth of counterfeit wine.

Eater Video: The Proper Glassware for Wine | Subscribe to Eater on YouTube

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day