Adam Edwards, Barry Warner, Christopher Brummit, Tarik Drissi and James Brooks were today sentenced at Southwark Crown Court for their actions between 2013 and 2015.
The five men operated three fake companies - Mayfair Worldwide Trading Ltd, Commodex Global Limited and Winchester Associates Ltd.
These firms claimed to be established fine-wine brokers based in prime locations such as Berkeley Square, Mayfair but were in fact based in industrial estate units on the outskirts of Great Dunmow in Essex.
The gang cold-called fine-wine investors from a ‘sucker list’, and through a series of aggressive sales tactics, managed to defraud a number of wine holdings from vulnerable victims.
Once these had been obtained, they would be sold on to legitimate buyers, with the proceeds pocketed by the fraudsters.
Victims were then told a series of elaborate lies about the whereabouts of their money.
Some were told that their wine had been reinvested into graphene, diamonds or gold.
Sian Mitchell from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division said: “This was an unscrupulous gang who would go to great lengths to defraud elderly and vulnerable people out of their very valuable wines, many of which represented their savings for their retirement.
“One of the victims was a disabled man who, as a result of not receiving payment, was unable to buy a new wheelchair.
“They went to great lengths to legitimise their fraudulent activities - Mayfair Worldwide Trading issued a bogus press release claiming that the company had won the ‘2014 ID Times Trading Award for Best Asset Exchange Programme and the Internship Europe Excellence Award.’
“Obviously, no such awards existed, and were designed to dupe innocent investors.
“We are delighted to have secured custodial sentences for this group, and will continue to prosecute those who think they can benefit from fraud.”
Those sentenced for their part in the scam were:
· Adam James Edwards - Six years imprisonment plus five years Director’s Disqualification Order
· Barrymore Alexis Warner - five-and-a-half years imprisonment
· Tarik Drissi - three years imprisonment
· James Robert Brooks - 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years, 300 hours unpaid work
· Christopher Brummitt – Sentenced in absence – three years three months imprisonment, 5 year Director’s Disqualification Order