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Owner of wine storage facility sentenced for embezzling customers

Posted at 9:55 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 09:13:19-04

BALTIMORE — A 54-year-old man was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised released for stealing between $550,000 and $1.5 million of wine from his clients.

According to his plea agreement, William Lamont Holder was the sole owner and operator of Safe Harbour Wine Storage, and, through the business ,he stored and transported upscale wines for private collectors and commercial establishments. With a monthly fee, Holder would arrange for the transportation of the wine to their storage facility in Glen Burnie.

From January 2013 to December 2017, Holder developed a scheme to obtain payments and wine from the customers of Safe Harbour for his own personal financial gain.

Unknown to his customers, Holder offered the wine to wine retailers and brokers around the country all while continuing to collect the customer's monthly storage fees and accept additional wine for storage.

The plea agreement shows that Holder represented to potential third-party buyers that he was the lawful owner of the wine that he was offering to sell.

By e-mail and facsimile, he sent them lists of bottles of wine stored in his warehouse with detailed descriptions of the winery, vintage, and asking price. After the buyers selected the bottles they wanted to purchase, Holder boxed and shipped the wine, and sent his bank account information.

After inspecting the shipment of wine, the buyers would either wire the money directly into Holder’s bank account or send a check. Holder kept the proceeds from the sales and spent it on personal expenses.