Bankrupt Premier Cru Wine Store Investigated for Possible Ponzi Scheme

by San Antonio Attorney

The FBI is now running an investigation against Premier Cru Wine Company’s recent bankruptcy filing due to possible Ponzi scheme.

A representative for FBI stated that due to a high number of complaints received from people affected by Premier Cru’s bankruptcy, they have already created a specific email address so that people with complaints can contact them.

The Berkeley-based company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last January 27, after claiming $7 million in total assets and $70 million in debt.

A trustee was ordered by the federal judge to secure and insure 30,000 bottles of wine to be stored into a warehouse.  One day following this action, John Fox, the Premier Cru owner was ordered by the judge to officially turnover a computer that contained important information beyond the company’s accounting system.

The trustee stated that this confiscated computer should have sufficient information as to where the funds actually went.  This was in accordance to future contracts, which were worth ten million dollars.

The company sold wines on pre-arrival status, which meant that the store did not have the other wine bottles on hand.  Shipping was not on a regular basis and the customers frequently complained of waiting too long to receive their orders.  Worse enough, these delays even took years.  As a result, the customers filed a case against them, with the allegation that they were guilty of committing fraud and misrepresentation.  Premier Cru was speculated to have committed a breach of contract in terms of late shipment compensation of purchased wine.

This case of a Ponzi scheme is somehow similar to a recent fraud committed by late chef Benoît Violier, who conned his customers with a hefty cost of as much as $2 million.  A company based in Switzerland was tasked to sell the wine bottles with prices ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 to restaurants.  One of these wines included the products made by Violier and customers suffered by non-delivery of the product.  The Swiss company filed for bankruptcy last November 30, which led Violier committing suicide last January 31.

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