A London woman who ran a £5 million wine investment scam with her brother was convicted for the offence on Wednesday (July 17).
Dina Snelling, aged 53, of Invicta Close, set up Nouveau World Wines Ltd and Finbow Wines Ltd, which started trading in June 2007 and September 2009 respectively, with her brother Daniel Snelling, 38, from Sutton. Southwark Crown Court heard how they used a sales team to cold-call members of the public and promote two promising wine investment schemes.
Nouveau World Wines Ltd investors were told their money would be spent on Australian wines which would be stored in Australia before being sold on for great profit. Finbow Wines Ltd investors were told they were purchasing Italian wine which would be shipped to China, South Africa and India.
Victims were sent glossy brochures and called back to close deals. They were sent false documentation claiming the wine had been purchased when, in reality, only £478,000 was spent on wine. Police believe more than 100 people were duped – many repeatedly.
The Snellings were in the process of moving to a third company, M2M, when police arrested them in March 2010. Dina Snelling was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud. Daniel Snelling was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of converting criminal property. Both pleaded not guilty to all charges. They will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on September 9. Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore of the Met’s fraud squad, said: “This was a callous family-run plot to dupe people out of their cash.
“The Snellings went to great lengths to fool victims into believing they were offering irresistible and sound wine investments. “They created glossy promotional brochures, set up fake offices for investors to visit in the affluent areas of Canary Wharf and Mayfair, and created fake certificates to claim investments were real. “However, the vast majority of wine did not exist, the investments were not made and the money was spent by the Snellings on nights out, designer clothes and jewellery, expensive accommodation, luxury cars and cosmetic surgery. “Had we not arrested them, they would most likely have gone on to create any number of additional companies and take many more victims’ money.”