The father of a friend made some investments with the firm named above.  He is concerned there might be a scam involved, several things have alerted my friend, who called me because she knows I have some contacts in the wine world.

Anyone heard of these guys or know anything about them?  I suspect I know the answers already, but I'll be optimistic and try.  TIA

Original Post

There seems to be a lot of these companies operating out of the UK.  They all are pretty much what we'd call in the US 'Boiler Room' operations.  Cold call potential marks and sell them wine.  Over the years some have been shut down as complete frauds (no wine ever purchased) partial frauds (pyramid) and some continue to operate.

I'd say it's likely your friend's father probably paid way over market for some bottles of wine.  That's how the 'investment' starts.  They pitch you a small purchase, and then return over and over again to add to your 'cellar/portfolio'.  

My advice would be to have your friend request the physical wine be sent to their father and put him on phone restriction from purchasing any more.

Sure thing Grossie - It's really like investing in any collectible: art, wine, memorabilia, guitars, pottery, anything, if you're not an expert, you're paying a lot of money to have someone be an expert for you and any potential margin is severely impacted.   

When you really on an 'expert' you're introducing a huge risk of fraud.  I just watched Sour Grapes and remember being really amazed at the time all that was going down how obvious the signs of fraud were to me (with 20 years buying and selling sports collectibles) and how oblivious really experienced wine collectors were to it.   But then Bill Mastro ran a crooked operation for 15+ years in the sports business and still fooled a lot of people in the industry and experienced collectors. 

I guess it's like doctors, always get a second opinion

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