On Tuesday, a Maryland man pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing between $550,000 and $1.5 million worth of wine.
According to his plea, William Holder, 54, owned and operated the Safe Harbour Wine Storage facility in the Baltimore suburb of Glen Burnie.
Private collectors and wine businesses paid Holder to pick up and store their wine at his climate-controlled warehouse. Between January 2013 and December 2017, Holder received payments for these services, but without his customers’ knowledge or consent, sold their wines to retailers and brokers around the U.S.
The warehouse owner kept all of the proceeds from the wine sales, and continued to collect monthly storage fees after selling off his customers’ bottles.
Todd Laubach, of Washington DC, lost 759 bottles of wine in the scheme. “He completely wiped us out,” Laubach wrote in a July 2018 post on the online forum Wine Berserkers. “He replaced some of the cases with cheap bottles of wine. My brother and I foolishly did not have insurance so a total loss.”
Holder has agreed to pay the full $1.5 million restitution under the terms of his plea. U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake is scheduled to carry out the sentencing on July 31.