Acker Merrall Condit fined US$100,000 for selling fake whiskey
New York store Acker Merrall Condit has received the maximum fine available for selling bottles of counterfeit Bourbon, but will not fire the employees responsible.
Following an investigation by state regulators, one of New York’s oldest wine and liquor stores has been slapped with a US$100,000 fine. The penalty was applied after the store was found to have been selling fake bottles of Colonel E.H Taylor Four Grain Bourbon for nearly US$1,000 a pop.
The crime was first exposed by TV programmed ‘Inside Edition’, which purchased a bottle of the whiskey and sent it away to Buffalo Trace for analysis.
Results showed that the liquid inside the bottle was not Colonel E.H Taylor.
State officials determined that the store’s Bourbon was purchased from a private collector, “despite tell-tale signs that it wasn’t authentic.”
Continuing, Vincent Bradley, New York State Liquor Authority Commissioner, said: “There was clear fraud here, or at least a large potential for fraud.”
Acker Merrall Condit’s solicitor, Kevin Danow, revealed that the employees responsible for buying the booze had “been disciplined and retrained” but would not lose their jobs. The state investigation, he added, “frankly scared the hell out of them.”
Danow appeared to further imply that the store itself could be the victim of a wider scam.
“We believe that Acker was targeted,” he said.
The store was fined on five separate occasions between 2020 and 2021 for buying whiskey from unauthorised sellers and failing to keep proper records. One of these involved the sale of a “record-breaking” six-litre bottle of 2002 DRC Romanée-Conti via Acker’s auction house, which fetched US$398,400. The sale was later rescinded after the bottle of wine was alleged to be counterfeit.