Former Napa wine boss jailed for $1m fraud

A former Napa wine executive has been jailed for nearly three years for embezzling nearly US$1 million from his employer.

3763879941_44ea9d4c97_zMartin “Chris” Edwards, former vice president and general manager of the WineTasting Network, pleaded guilty to fraud in April having been accused of embezzling $900,000 from his employer between May 2010 and October 2012.

The scam involved 49-year-old Edwards making a series of payments to a fictitious company, Dufrane Compliance Trust, for fake services with the funds instead deposited into his own accounts.

Edwards also failed to declare the extra revenues on his federal tax returns.

He was sentenced on Tuesday to two years and nine months in federal prison, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and was also ordered to repay $894,222 to the WineTasting Network.

Edwards, who had previously run twice for  Napa City Council candidate, was indicted in May 2013 but was only arrested in January 2014 when he was tracked down by officers having fled to Mexico.

Prosecutors said Edwards had carried out a “calculated pattern of deception” in court papers. In arguing for a lower sentence of 20-months, his defence lawyer said Edwards was a community activist and supporter of charitable causes who had suffered from depression and a bipolar disorder for many years.

Seth Chazin, Edward’s attorney, said his client had suffered from chronic depression, a bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addictions.

As reported by the Napa Valley Register, Chazin said: “It was a sad case in many ways as Chris is a great guy and has done much for many in the Napa area and beyond. He has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for umpteen charities, and has been involved in the community for many years.

“Much of this arose from an untreated bi-polar condition, depression and other mental health issues, combined with substance abuse issues.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Subscribe to our newsletters

Account Manager - Manchester

Black Fire Tequila
Manchester, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

General Manager

3Cs Cider
UK

Buyer

BrandAlley UK LTD
London EC2A

Liquid Production Assistant

Atom Group
Tonbridge, UK

Brand Manager

Hallgarten Druitt
Luton, UK

Brand Manager

Kilchoman Distillery Co Ltd
Edinburgh, UK

Wine Bar Supervisor

Henny's
London, UK

Partner Manager - On-trade - North West

Maverick Drinks
Manchester, UK

Pays d'Oc Tasting

London,United Kingdom
28th Jun 2018

CHILE: From The Very Top To The Downright Hot

Manchester,United Kingdom
2nd Jul 2018

CHILE: From The Very Top To The Downright Hot

Edinburgh,United Kingdom
3rd Jul 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more