Two members of the same family have been jailed following their part in a wine scam in which lost investors a total of £4.5 million. Daniel Snelling, along with his sister Dina and cousin Rebecca McDonald, were found guilty last week of conducting the scam.
Following the trial at Southwark Crown Court, Daniel Snelling was jailed for seven and a half years, and McDonald for three years. Dina Snelling, who was not present at court due to health reasons, will face sentencing in October.
The scam conducted by the family involved conning people into investing money in Australian wine, which they described as ‘the best money can buy’. Trading under the name Nouveau World Wines, the trio promised investors huge profits after three years, during which the wine was said to be kept in ‘premium storage’. Boasting prestigious Mayfair offices, which did not actually exist, the Snellings and McDonald cold-called victims promising top-end wines as a better investment than stocks and shares.
The investors, many of whom were described during court proceedings as being elderly and ‘vulnerable’ in fact never had the chance to retrieve their money.
A second business, which involved selling Italian wine, was set up by Snelling. This business attracted average sums of investment of £5,000, with individual investors sometimes being sold up to 10,000 bottles at a time.
Overall, hundreds of people invested money in the scams, at a total loss of £4.5 million.
During the course of the scams, which took place between 2007 and 2010, Snelling is said to have enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle, purchasing flashy cars and trips to Australia. Dina Snelling, who worked as office manager for the wine companies, is thought to have spent most of her share of the money on plastic surgery.
The Court heard that Snelling and his family were in fact planning at third investment scam involving old world wines at the time when police swooped in 2010.
Daniel Snelling, 38, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and two further counts of converting criminal property. As the sole shareholder and company director of Nouveau World Wines, Daniel Snelling also faces a ten year ban from being a Company Director and Serious Crime Prevention Order, which restricts his business activities.
Dina Snelling was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, and Rebecca McDonald of one count of conspiracy to defraud.
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