Court told of £4.5m wine fraud

A court has heard how a group of fraudsters conned hundreds of people out of £4.5 million through bogus wine investments.

Southwark Crown CourtSouthwark Crown Court heard that Daniel Snelling, 38, his sister Dina Snelling, 35, and their cousin, Rebecca McDonald, 42, carried out two frauds over the space of three years, often targeting elderly people’s life savings.

The trio initially set up Nouveau World Wines, which promised to invest in the best Australian wines. Investors would pay on average thousands of pounds each for wine to be bought and sold, but much of the wine was never purchased. When Nouveau investors found out the company was folded, but the jury was told that a second company, Finbow Wines, was then set up.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC told the court that Nouveau investors paid an average of £5,000 for 72 bottles of the finest Australian wines. These were due to be stored in Australia for several years to gain in value.

Christopher added that Nouveau did buy wine, but while the investments should have bought 39,000 bottles, the company only ever had a maximum of 11,349 bottles.

He told the court: “The suggestion was that in two or three years’ time they would sell that wine at a huge profit and they (Nouveau) would make their money by taking 10% of the profit.

“Lots of people were attracted by that. Often elderly people investing their savings. After they invested once, they were being targeted again and again.”

The court was told that when suspicious investors started asking questions, Nouveau ceased trading and Finbow was set up.

Sales staff working for Nouveau were told overnight that they were now working for Finbow, the court heard.

Mr Christopher told the court the defendants were in the process of setting up a third firm, M2M, specialising in “fine old world wines” when they were arrested in March 2010.

Mr Christopher added: “Whether Nouveau was always intended as a front from the outset or whether, as time went on, the temptation and opportunity became too much to resist is a question you may want to consider.”

Daniel Snelling’s girlfriend, Kelly Humphreys was the companies’ training director and she is also due to stand trial over her alleged involvement at a later date. All four currently on trial deny all the charges against them. The trial, which continues, is due to last 10 weeks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Administrator

Ellis Wines
Hanworth, Middx, IU

Sales Support Executive

Davy's
London, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - Greater London

Maverick Drinks
London/M25 belt, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - North West

Maverick Drinks
Manchester, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - West & Wales

Maverick Drinks
Bristol, UK

Partner Manager – On-trade - South East

Maverick Drinks
Brighton, UK

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business
Central London, UK

Sale & Operations Manager

Marussia Beverages
Marylebone, London, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more