Wine Storage Facility Owner Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Between $550K To $1.5M In Wine

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Hanover man has pled guilty to stealing between $550,000 and $1.5 million of wine from his clients, mainly private collectors and commercial establishments.

William Lamont Holder, 54, of Hanover, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal wire fraud charge.

Holder was the sole owner and operator of Safe Harbour Wine Storace, LLC. According to his plea agreement, he stored and moved upscale wines for private collectors and commercial establishments.

In return for a monthly fee, he would arrange for the transportation of a customer’s wine to Safe Harbour’s storage facility in Glen Burnie, where it would be inventoried and stored.

Holder did not have a license to sell wine in the state of Maryland.

From January 2013 through December 2017, Holder schemed to obtain payments and wine from Safe Harbour customers for his own personal financial gain, the plea agreement said.

He offered his customers’ wine for sale to wine retailers and brokers around the country, including Napa, California, while collecting the customers’ monthly storage fees and accept more wine for storage- unknown to his customers.

Holder told potential third-party buyers he was the lawful owner of the wine he was selling and sent them detailed information and lists of the wine he was selling.

After buyers would select bottles to purchase, he would box and ship the wine, along with his bank account information.

He then kept the proceeds for his own personal expenses.

If the Court accepts his plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

His sentencing is scheduled for July 31 at 10:30 a.m.