Whisky and wine are not always acquired by buyers for their consumption but are acquired as an investment. Unfortunately there have been examples where unscrupulous fraudsters entered the market with slick advertising and high pressure selling techniques with false claims to persuade the public to buy casks or vats of these items. They said there would be growth in value over the years (as much 18% per annum was suggested) and that the whisky/wine could be re-sold at a handsome return.
Cavendish Wine Merchants Ltd and Hamilton Spirit Management ltd are but two dishonest operations that came to the SFO's attention. Involved in both companies were Lewis Daulby, previously a City broker and Lee Rosser with a background in precious coins dealing. Though they seemed plausible to many investors neither they nor the sales staff they employed, latterly in an office in Gibraltar, had any background or expertise. They promoted immature single malt Scotch whisky bonded in a Glasgow warehouse which was not up to standard for top brand bottling. Over £6 million was handed over by investors for spirit that they later discovered was almost impossible to sell.
Another example of this type of fraud again involved Lee Rosser together with two other conspirators starting in 1996 as the House of Delecroix from an office in Amsterdam. Leading up the new millennium and with the advertising slogan "The biggest party for a thousand years is to run out of fizz". They claimed that the anticipated millennium celebrations would create such a demand that professional buyers would hoover up the finite supply and make champagne a scarce commodity. Investors were urged to buy the promoted own brand label Lantz 2000 and get ready access to auctions for re-sale. However the promised demand did not dry up the available stock; there was no access to wine auctions and the net result was that investors lost out whilst the fraudsters drew large salaries and made substantial cash withdrawals from the business account.
There were four defendants all of whom were convicted