A former employee of wine storage business Legend Cellars is accused of stealing US$2.7m-worth of wine from private clients' lockers.
George Osumi, who is the father of Legend Cellars‘ current president, Scott Osumi, attempted to cover his tracks by replacing the stolen wines with ‘much cheaper brands’, the district attourney’s office for California’s Orange County has alleged.
He auctioned off some of the wine with the help of an unwitting friend, it is alleged.
If convicted of the charges, which include grand theft, embezzlement and receiving stolen property, the 64-year-old faces up to 16 years in prison.
Legend Cellars’ lawyer, Correen Ferrentino, told Decanter.com that George Osumi was sacked by the wine storage business earlier this year ‘after it was discovered he embezzled money from the company’.
‘Several months after his termination, it was determined he also stole wine from some of the customers’ lockers,’ she said.
‘Legend Cellars and Scott Osumi have fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by the Irvine Police Department and has taken significant steps to increase company security.’
George Osumi is accused of breaking into three clients’ lockers between 1 January 2008 and 21 June 2012. Some of the stolen wine was recovered by police and Legend Cellars has encouraged customers to check their inventories for missing bottles.
Written by Chris Mercer