Three arrested in wine investment scam

Three people have been arrested by UK police for allegedly selling fictitious wine through a fake wine investment company, Worldwide Wine Investments.

Credit: Paul Cooper

According to the BBC, Thames Valley Police said that 200 people had lost £3m after investing in wine that didn’t exist through the Milton Keynes-based company.

A 47-year-old man, a 22-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested in Essex this week on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

“The company set up a scheme whereby the wine was being imported from France en primeur, which meant people invested in it before it had been bottled,” detective sergeant Duncan Wynn told the BBC.

“It meant people would have had a long wait before they realised their investment.

“In that time the money was shipped out of the country and the suspects left the premises, which meant we were always playing catch-up with the suspects,” he added.

Set up in March 2007, the company rented space in an office block in Milton Keynes and took out adverts in The Telegraph to give the appearance of propriety.

Recruiting customers from across the UK, many victims of the scam were retired and had been persuaded to invest up to £100,000 from their pension funds, the BBC reports.

Officers are currently trying to trace the money Worldwide Wine Investments made in profits.

“We’re looking to recover any assets or money under the Proceeds of Crime, because we’d like to restore that back to the victims,” Wynn said.

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