The recent bankruptcy of California’s Premier Cru seemed like something ripped from a television script. The retailer, which sold collectible wines at attractive prices, was found to be indebted to some 5,000 customers, all of whom had ordered wines and never received them. The high number of complaints eventually led to an FBI investigation and now, seemingly, to an actual TV show.
USA Network, well-known for its high-stakes dramas revolving around sexy con artists, is developing a television show centered around events that sound a whole lot like the Premier Cru fiasco. Variety reports Connoisseur will be an hourlong drama starring John Cho of Star Trek Beyond and Harold and Kumar fame.
According to Vulture, Cho will play Clay Park, “a con artist who dupes the wealthy into paying millions for fake wine” and eventually attracts the attention of the FBI.
The Premier Cru story follows a similar plot line: It scammed clients out of some $45 million by selling wines on a "pre-arrival" basis, accepting payment without actually having bottles in stock. Customers complained about long waits and eventually began filing lawsuits. That led to the FBI investigating Premier Cru’s bankruptcy as a Ponzi scheme; owner John Fox plead guilty to wire fraud earlier this month, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Will Connoisseurs make it into USA’s lineup? Will Cho’s character face a fate similar to that of real-life fraudster Fox? Stay tuned.
• USA Network Developing Con Artist Drama Starring ‘Star Trek’s’ John Cho [Variety]
• John Cho Will Play a Wine Connoisseur–Con Artist in a Series Based on Your Private Fantasies [Vulture]
• Wine Shop Owner Pleads Guilty After Scamming Customers Out of $45 Million [E]