Wine lovers and investors were bilked out of millions of dollars through a fraudulent company in Colorado that was selling "Wine Futures" of First Growth Bordeaux. The problem was that the owner of Rare LLC took the money he was receiving from those who invested in the Futures through him and remodeled home and bought cars and threw parties…and never delivered the wine.
Buying Wine Futures is a common way of purchasing highly sought after wines. Essentially you pay a retailer for the wine well in advance of receiving it. You get a good price on the wine and supposedly a guarantee that you will get the wine.
That wasn’t the case here.
The crook is Ronald Wallace. He struck a plea bargain and plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conducting an unlawful monetary transaction. He says he’ll also make restitution to those he stole from.
The cautionary tale is not that you should not buy wine futures. Rather, be very careful of those with whom you do business. Always work with a reputable retailer who has a good long history of selling futures.