A man in the United Kingdom has been found guilty of defrauding clients into investing into a bogus wine company. According to Decanter, 44-year-old Spyros Constantinos posed as director of the fraudulent company, stealing 1 million pounds ($1,574,450) from investors. Rather than spending the money on any actual wine, he used it to book extravagant vacations and high-end shopping sprees at Harrods and Selfridges.
Although Constantinos was banned from being a UK company director after the collapse of his first wine company in 2008, he used aliases to continue to act as the director of the pseudo companies that he used to solicit money from potential investors. He also used fake names and false documents as part of his Ponzi scheme. The trial lasted three weeks, and testimony was heard from several of Constantinos' 24 duped investors, some losing upwards of 500,000 pounds ($787,225).
This is yet another incident to add to the growing number of fraudulent wine cases that many feel are ruining the rare wine business. In fact, this type of fraud has become so prevalent that Hollywood has been prompted to make an upcoming movie about the shady underground business.