Chislehurst woman and brother guilty of £5million wine scam
PUBLISHED: 10:27 11 September 2013 | UPDATED: 10:27 11 September 2013
A Chislehurst woman and her brother have been found guilty of netting £5million from a wine investment scam.
Dina Snelling, 35, of Invicta Close, and her brother Daniel, of Basinghall Gardens, Sutton, were convicted at Southwark Crown Court on July 17.
The 38-year-old brother was jailed for 17 years on Tuesday (10) for conspiracy to defraud and converting criminal property.
The pair set up Nouveau Wines Ltd and Finbow Wines Ltd, which began trading in 2007 and 2009, using sales teams to cold call the public and promote wine investment schemes.
Investors were told their money would be spent on Australian and Italian wines, which would then be stored for three years before being sold at a profit.
Victims were sent false receipts and certificates of ownership, though only a total of £478,000 was spent on wine - despite more than 100 people investing. The brother and sister also set up offices in Canary Wharf and Mayfair to con investors.
When the Snellings were pressed for evidence of investments, they would move wines between accounts to fool them.
While her brother was the director of Nouveau World Wines Litd, Dina was the office director. When investors became too suspicious, the siblings ceased trading under this name and started Finbow Wines Ltd.
They were in the process of creating a third company, M2M, when police arrested them in March 2010.
Det Insp Paul Whatmore, of the MPS Fraud Squad, said: “Sadly for the victims, this was nothing more than a callous, family-run plot to dupe them out of thousands of pounds which was spent on nights out, designer clothes, luxury cars and cosmetic surgery.
“Had we not arrested them, the Snellings would have likely gone on to create additional companies and take many more victims’ money.
“Anyone who is considering investing money should thoroughly research the companies and individuals they are dealing with - including checking their credentials with Companies House - to ensure that they are reputable and legitimate.”
Their cousin, Rebecca McDonald, 43, of Parkside Avenue, Bexleyheath, was also involved in overseeing the day-to-day running of the company bank accounts. She was sentenced to three years in prison for her role.
Dina Snelling will be sentenced for two counts of conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court on October 11.